Brussels, 14 Jul 2003
The European Commission has adopted a communication presenting an analysis of the barriers that are currently preventing widespread access to new services and applications of the information society.
The communication pays particular attention to the issue of promoting open platforms in digital television and third generation (3G) mobile communications, as called for during the Barcelona and Seville European Councils. It is believed that the development of a multi-platform environment that incorporates these technologies could play a key role in providing citizens with widespread access to the Internet, as well as a greater freedom of choice in terms of the applications and services available.
Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, said:' We know that our digital communications platforms like 3G and digital TV will be able in future to deliver virtually any electronic and Information Society service. We also know that because not all platforms are the same, the precise capabilities of each delivery will differ, and individual consumers will use their services differently. To maximise the choice for consumers and provide flexibility for the market, open platforms for digital television and 3G mobile will be a key part of the commercial picture.'
The communication notes that factors that could limit widespread access to electronic services in future go beyond those of open interfaces and open platforms and that technology barriers can be overcome wherever there is a strong commercial incentive to do so. However, the creation of an Information Society means putting into place a series of measures, both technical and non-technical, to create the conditions necessary for an Information Society to evolve.
Such measures include examining closely the impact of patenting on market entry in this area; promoting user trust and confidence in interactive services; developing acceptable business models for the deployment of the necessary infrastructure; and clarifying the regulatory frameworks for these technologies.
According to the communication, public authorities will have an important role to play in ensuring that these barriers are overcome, thus creating a favourable environment for business that attracts investment and favours economic development, and safeguards the interests of consumers.
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