EU Urges More Investment in Telecommunications Infrastructure

Failure to invest more in broadband and other telecommunications infrastructure risks undermining Europe’s economy, the European Union said.

European citizens and businesses “are generating enough digital demand to put Europe into sustainable economic growth, but failure to supply enough fast internet, online content, research and relevant skills is undermining this potential,” the EU said today in a report on the digital economy. “Nearly half of the labor force is not confident their computer and internet skills are sufficient in this labor market,” it said.

Commercial investments in telecommunications research is declining while government spending in this area “is well below the 6 percent annual growth needed to double public investment by 2020, according to the report.

“Europeans are hungry for digital technologies and more digital choices, but governments and industry are not keeping up with them,” EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in the report. “We are shooting ourselves in the foot by under-investing.”

Costs for consumers of mobile services declined, according to the report, with the average revenue per user declining to 221 euros ($279) in 2010 from 244 euros in 2009. Mobile termination rates, the fees networks charge other networks for delivering mobile voice calls, went down to 3.87 cents per minute last year from 5.47 cents per minute in 2010, the report showed.

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