| The European Commission plans to bring everyone in Europe on-line through a new initiative: "eEurope". This initiative will focus on cheaper and faster internet access, promote digital literacy, provide for more effective capital markets and digital technologies, said Erkki Liikanen, the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, in his opening speech to the IST-conference in Helsinki, Finland. The EU telecoms market has an annual growth of 6,5% and is worth 160billion euro in 1999. Telecom is the motor to economic growth in Europe. Forecasts are of 15 million digital set-top boxes and 600 million mobile phones with worldwide e-commerce capability by 2004. Liikanen points out that European research and standardisation contributed to the global success of GSM. |
"Mobile communications and digital broadcasting could bring Europe into a position of global e-commerce leadership." Three drivers of change are the internet, convergence and competition. Although technology is at the heart of the Information Society, what really matters is how it is used, by whom and for what purposes. For technology to be useful and Europe's potential to be released, its users must be technology literate and technology development should be complemented by a favourable regulatory environment. So, the time is now, while the window of opportunity is open. Erkki Liikanen further stressed that, although there is much to do about mergers nowadays, "the communication's revolution is not for giants alone." Many niches are to be filled by innovative start-ups.
By Luc De Smet, CMASS, 23.11.1999