Telecoms and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding has said the current economic conditions require the digital switchover process to be accelerated. Delivering The Ludwig Erhard Lecture 2009 at the Lisbon Council in Brussels, Reding said she would tomorrow put forward a package of draft measures to accelerate switchover that will then be put out to consultation. The freed spectrum could be used to provide new communications and content services.
“The Commission estimates that the incremental value of this spectrum for wireless broadband across the EU is between €150 and €200 billion. Appropriate European coordination of Member States’ work on the digital dividend would increase the potential economic impact of the digital dividend by an additional € 50 billion between now and 2015,” said Reding, adding that every corner of Europe would be able to benefit without it costing a single cent.” I call therefore on all EU governments: Don’t wait until 2012, the EU-wide deadline for the final digital switch-off, to bring these benefits to you businesses and citizens. Act swiftly now.”
In her speech, Reding likened the facilitation of intellectual property rights for online services across the EU to the introduction of commercial satellite TV in the 1980s. Reding proposed a less fragmented regulatory framework that would enable consumers to access content that has been uploaded in another member state. Far too often, she said, online service providers were spending money on rights clearance instead of the content.