One step closer to achieving EU's digital agenda - and saving EUR 30 billion
The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) is closer than ever to achieving its aim of ensuring that everyone in the EU is internet-savvy by next year.
There are 101 actions involved in the DAE: combined, these aim to reboot Europe's economy and help Europe's citizens and businesses get the most out of digital technologies. The future of the economy is increasingly becoming a digital one, and most professions now require familiarity with computers and the Internet. It is estimated that 90 % of all jobs will require some level of digital literacy.
Already, there have been significant developments in achieving the EU's proposed actions. Last year, 15 million Europeans connected for the first time, and 68 % of Europeans are now online regularly, with 170 million on social networks. Broadband is available nearly everywhere in Europe, with 95 % of Europeans having access to a fixed broadband connection. Consumers and businesses also seem to appreciate the flexibility of mobile internet: its take-up has burgeoned to 217 million mobile broadband subscriptions.
While, for the first time, a majority of economically disadvantaged Europeans have now had the experience of going online, there remains one in four Europeans who have never used the Internet. In response to this, the next course of action is to ensure the entire EU is covered by broadband by 2013. By 2015 it is hoped that 50 % of the population will buy online, increasing regular internet usage from 60 % to 75 %, and from 41 % to 60 % among disadvantaged people.
In order to achieve this and advise on ways to promote this digital society in Europe, Professor Björn Ottersten, Director of Luxembourg University's Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) has been brought on board. He has just been appointed 'Digital Champion of Luxembourg' by François Biltgen, Minister for Higher Education and Research in the government of Luxembourg. This means Professor Ottersten will serve as advisor to Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, on all things digital.
Every EU Member State was called upon to designate a single individual as its digital champion. As renowned experts in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), these digital champions have the task of developing and implementing strategies for their respective countries in order to go digital. The goals are to achieve Internet access for every single EU citizen, to develop their digital skills, and to promote ICT security, reliability and trust -potentially saving EUR 30 billion annually.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes from the European Commission says on her blog:
'If we can get every single European to go digital we will soon discover that this investment really pays off. For one, getting in touch with people via the Internet makes it cheaper and easier for public officials to reach out to citizens - total
e-government savings across the EU could potentially amount to an impressive EUR 30 billion annually. As well, in a few short years' time, pretty much every company - from small start-ups to big multinational corporations - will be looking at the regional digital skills market before deciding on where to set up shop.'
The Commission will present a mid-term review of the DAE before the end of 2012.
Data Source Provider: University of Luxembourg
Subject Index: Network technologies ; Other Technology; Telecommunications