Boosting the roll-out of fast and ultra-fast broadband connections will remain the European Commission's priority for 2013-2014. Its mid-term review of the Digital Agenda, published on 18 December 2012(1), spells out seven priorities and also provides for cyber security measures.

Adopted in 2010 by the European Commission, the Digital Agenda identifies actions to stimulate Europe's digital economy.

"We need to take risks," said a very determined Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. She continued: "Europe cannot afford laziness." In 2013, "we will have a package of ten actions just on broadband," said the commissioner.

The institution will adopt a recommendation to encourage investments in next generation access (NGA) networks. On an issue that has sparked controversy in the industry, the text provides for changing the costing methodology for wholesale access to broadband networks and strengthening provisions to guarantee non-discriminatory network access. In contrast with the Commission's initial approach, the recommendation will not seek to lower the cost of access to copper networks as a way of boosting investments in NGAs. It intends to give national regulators a fair amount of flexibility in calculating costs for access to NGAs in some cases. To guarantee the principle of non-discrimination, the Commission is expected to propose measures guaranteeing equivalent access to telecommunications networks (ensuring that competing operators have the same "inputs"). The draft text is currently being examined by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which has to give its opinion.

Recommendations on reducing civil engineering costs in the deployment of telecommunications networks, on internet neutrality and on universal service are also expected to be adopted in 2013.


The Commission also intends to tackle online security by proposing a European strategy. "It's going to be a comprehensive strategy. The details are still under discussion, but what is clear is that we want the EU to offer the safest online environment in the world, to drastically reduce cyber crime and to stimulate a European industry and market for secure ICT," said Commission spokesman Ryan Heath.

This strategy will include a draft directive to set a minimum common level of national preparedness for dealing with cyber attacks (eg risk management and incident...

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