Politicians must do more for broadband

Pull yer fingers out

Political leaders must do more to help the development and take-up of broadband in Europe if they want to secure the benefits of a wired world.

So said European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen today as he convened a day-long workshop on broadband in a bid to hear what different countries and organisations are doing to drive forward the roll-out and adoption of broadband.

Accepting that interest in broadband is growing apace he said: "Now we have to move from interest to action.

"Politicians should give fresh impetus to initiatives fostering broadband development in Europe.

"Investments are costly, take up is slow, and the financial situation of the sector is delaying deployment of broadband and the delivery of its social benefits."

Which is why he believes European countries need to redouble their efforts concerning broadband and turn the idea of broadband Europe "into reality".

Mr Liikanen also used today's address to rule out any move to water-down the regulation of wholesale broadband services provided by incumbent telcos. According to industry insiders, some incumbents had been lobbying the Commission not regulate wholesale broadband and, instead, focus on local loop unbundling.

Said Mr Liikanen: "Nowadays, new entrants use bitstream and resale products as a stepping stone to develop unbundled access. Regulation remains a necessary tool to stimulate competition in broadband services in the short to medium term, as long as competition from alternative networks is limited."

The findings from today's workshop will be used to help progress the deployment of broadband in Europe and be used to overcome any obstacles. Apparently. ®

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