Europe losing the plot on Web, says Gartner

The problem seems to be that Europe consists of lots of different countries. Egad...

This month's 'Europe is falling behind on the Internet' story comes from the Gartner Group conference in Cannes, where research director Alexander Drobik claimed electronic business in Europe was between 12-18 months behind the US. Gartner reckons the usual suspects are to blame. Slow liberalisation, cost of Internet access and an inadequate legal and security framework. The detailed list is interesting. Gartner says that the different European countries all have different rules for security, tax and censorship, and European Internet infrastructure and legislation have not kept pace with Internet usage. Europe's failure to address encryption for security, tax and censorship purposes is also a major hindrance to e-commerce development. But is there not an element of the standard US 'we've arrived, now it's time the rest of you caught up with us' approach here? As The Register recalls the US telecoms industry only recently got itself liberalised, and appears not quite to have got there yet. US encryption policy is a running sore, and the US 'make the Internet a tax-free zone' is largely a wacky idea that popped (or was put) into Bill Clinton's head, and is now confusing the issue like hell. Practically all of the 'obstacles' Gartner lists are matters that are being tackled both by Europe and the US, and the ways they're being tackled will of necessity intersect (punctuated often by muffled shrieks from the smoke-filled rooms of the World Trade Organisation). Europe's frameworks are certainly developing slower than the Web, but then so are everybody else's. Phone calls are cheaper in the US, but really that's about it folks. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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