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    COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

    Brussels, 1.6.2005

    COM(2005) 229 final

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE

    EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL

    COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

    “i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment”

    {SEC(2005) 717}

    EN EN

    COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE

    EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL

    COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

    “i2010 A European Information Society for growth and employment”

    (Text with EEA relevance)

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 3 2. A single European information space ........................................................................ 4

    3. Innovation and investment in research ...................................................................... 6

    4. Inclusion, better public services and quality of life .................................................... 9

    5. Conclusion: i2010 within the new Lisbon governance cycle .................................... 11

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1. INTRODUCTION

    In launching the partnership for growth and jobs as a new start for the Lisbon strategy,

    the 2005 Spring European Council called knowledge and innovation the engines of

    sustainable growth and stated that it is essential to build a fully inclusive information

    society, based on the widespread use of information and communication technologies

    (ICT) in public services, SMEs and households.

    Information and communication technologies are a powerful driver of growth and

    employment. A quarter of EU GDP growth and 40% of productivity growth are due to

    ICT. Differences in economic performances between industrialised countries are largely

    explained by the level of ICT investment, research, and use, and by the competitiveness 1of information society and media industries. ICT services, skills, media and content are a growing part of the economy and society.

    In recent years, ICT developments have gained pace to arrive at the threshold of

    massive growth in information society and media, made possible by widespread fast

    communications, connecting multiple devices. Traditional content (such as films, video,

    music) is now available in digital formats, and new services that are „born digital‟, such

    as interactive software, are emerging. The digital convergence of information society and media services, networks and devices is finally becoming an everyday reality: ICT will become smarter, smaller, safer, faster, always connected and easier to use, with

    content moving to three-dimensional multimedia formats.

    Proactive policies are needed to respond to the fundamental changes in technology.

    Digital convergence requires policy convergence and a willingness to adapt regulatory frameworks where needed so they are consistent with the emerging digital economy.

    The Commission proposes a new strategic framework, i2010 European

    Information Society 2010, laying out broad policy orientations. It promotes an open

    and competitive digital economy and emphasises ICT as a driver of inclusion and

    quality of life. A key element of the renewed Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs,

    i2010 will build towards an integrated approach to information society and audio-

    visual media policies in the EU.

    Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of information society challenges and drawing on 2wide stakeholder consultation on previous initiatives and instruments, the Commission

    proposes three priorities for Europe‟s information society and media policies:

     1 The services of the information society and media industries were already described in the 1998

    Green Paper on convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology

    sectors and the implications for regulation towards an information society approach - COM(97)

    623 - and, taking into account new developments, in the 2003 Communication on the Future of

    European Regulatory Audiovisual Policy - COM(2003) 784. These services reflect the

    convergence now taking place between electronic communications services, information society

    services and broadcasting services and the emergence of new content services resulting

    therefrom. 2 I.e. the eEurope initiatives and the communication on the future of European audiovisual

    regulatory policy - COM(2003) 784.

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i) the completion of a Single European Information Space which promotes an

    open and competitive internal market for information society and media;

    ii) strengthening Innovation and Investment in ICT research to promote growth

    and more and better jobs;

    iii) achieving an Inclusive European Information Society that promotes growth

    and jobs in a manner that is consistent with sustainable development and that

    prioritises better public services and quality of life.

    The following sections outline the objectives of i2010 and the key activities, which are

    fully integrated and consistent with the new Lisbon governance cycle.

    2. A SINGLE EUROPEAN INFORMATION SPACE The information society is at a turning point: recent technological progress has been

    huge and ICT are entering a phase of mass deployment which may fundamentally

    change the way in which we work, live and interact. Rich media content is becoming

    available in new, diverse formats and can be delivered independent of location or time,

    personalised to individual citizens preferences or requirements. In technical terms,

    communication networks, media, content, services and devices are undergoing digital

    convergence. Improvements in networks, combined with new compression techniques,

    create new and faster distribution channels and trigger new content formats and services

    (e.g. Voice over IP, Web TV, on-line music).

    New content creation, services and business models are driving growth and jobs. For

    example, Western European online content markets are expected to triple by 2008 (with 3the consumer part growing tenfold). These developments are expected to multiply across the sector, today already accounting for 8% of EU GDP. However, the impact of

    digital convergence will be felt globally and will lead to increased worldwide

    competition. If Europe is to benefit fully from its economic potential, a proactive

    policy approach is needed to stimulate favourable market developments and the

    promotion of the knowledge society (e.g. lifelong learning, creativity and innovation),

    consumer protection and a healthy and safe European information society.

    The creation of a Single European Information Space needs to address at the outset four

    main challenges posed by digital convergence:

    ? speed: faster broadband in Europe services to deliver rich content such as high

    definition video;

    ? rich content: increased legal and economic certainty to encourage new services and

    on-line content;

    ? interoperability: enhancing devices and platforms that “talk to one another” and services that are portable from platform to platform;

     3 European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) 2005.

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? security: making internet safer from fraudsters, harmful content and technology

    failures to increase trust amongst investors and consumers.

    Objective 1: A Single European Information Space offering affordable and secure

    high bandwidth communications, rich and diverse content and digital services.

    Digital convergence calls for a consistent system of rules for information society and

    media. In this area, the internal market is governed by a wide set of rules covering e.g.

    audiovisual media, digital television, on-line trading, intellectual property rights and

    support measures for the creation and circulation of European content. Some regulatory

    elements (e.g. the e-Commerce directive) are recent and reflect digital convergence.

    Others, notably the Television without Frontiers Directive are due for review. The

    Commission undertakes to examine the rules affecting the digital economy to make

    their interplay more coherent and oriented to economic and technological realities.

    Concretely the Commission will:

    ? by end 2005, propose a revision of the Television without Frontiers directive to modernise the rules on audiovisual media services;

    ? by 2007, the Commission will have analysed the community acquis affecting

    information society and media services and will bring forward proposals for change

    where necessary.

    Complementary policies will promote fast and efficient implementation of the

    updated frameworks and support will continue for the creation and circulation of 4European content and knowledge.

    Regulation of electronic communications has been transformed in the last decade. The

    European electronic communications regulatory framework, in force since 2003, is an

    example of best practice. Where it has been implemented consistently and effectively it

    has opened up competition, encouraging lower prices and investment. Regulation must

    keep pace with technological and market developments. Therefore, in the 2006 review

    of the framework, the Commission will thoroughly examine its principles and mode of

    implementation, especially where bottlenecks are delaying the provision of faster, more innovative and competitive broadband services.

    5New high speed wireless applications are driving demand for radio spectrum. Policy

    aims to facilitate spectrum access across the EU through market mechanisms. This will

    be assisted by the planned switching off of analogue terrestrial television by 2012. The

    Commission will consolidate its proposals by defining a strategy for efficient spectrum management in 2005 to be implemented in the 2006 review of the electronic

    communications framework.

    Digital convergence requires devices, platforms and services to interoperate. The

    Commission intends to use all its instruments to foster technologies that communicate,

    through research, promotion of open standards, support for stakeholder dialogue and,

     4 With MEDIA, the eLearning and the eContent programme and their successors. 5 E.g. broadband mobile, wireless local and wide area networks (WiFI & WiMax) and digital TV.

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where needed, mandatory instruments. Such a policy mix was the foundation of

    Europe‟s mobile telephony success. Under i2010, the Commission will also seek to

    establish a comprehensive approach for effective and interoperable digital rights

    management.

    Trustworthy, secure and reliable ICT are crucial for a wide take up of converging

    digital services. During 2006 the Commission will propose a Strategy for a Secure Information Society to combine and update the instruments available, including raising

    awareness of the need for self-protection, vigilance and monitoring of threats, rapid and

    effective response to attacks and system failures. Support will be given to targeted

    research to „design-in‟ security and to deployment measures that test solutions for key

    issues such as identity management. Revision of regulation will be considered where

    necessary, for example in protection of privacy, electronic signature or discouraging

    illegal and harmful content.

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