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ACTS final report available

The European Commission has published the final report of the ACTS programme, summarising ten years of collaboration across Europe in advanced communications research, which proved crucial to the EU's success in the telecommunications field. The ACTS programme invested strong...

The European Commission has published the final report of the ACTS programme, summarising ten years of collaboration across Europe in advanced communications research, which proved crucial to the EU's success in the telecommunications field. The ACTS programme invested strongly in the development of digital communication infrastructure and services, contributing to European policy objectives for telecommunications and industrial competitiveness. Through ACTS, European telecommunications and emerging Internet companies have worked together, combining research and technology development with system validation in operational trials. There were over 200 projects involved in ACTS, which itself was part of the Fourth Framework Programme. Around 90 per cent of the projects report that their work with ACTS has given them a lead over rivals in Europe. Over 50 per cent also believe they have a lead over rivals in the USA. The report notes that ACTS projects in the field of mobile and personal communications contributed to European leadership in the next generation (UMTS) technologies and protocols for multi-media mobile services, and set the stage for the transition from GSM system to UMTS. They also developed consensus on new platforms for mobile 'electronic commerce' and mobile Internet access. In the actions devoted to interactive multi-media services, ACTS projects gave a lead to Europe in developing in the MPEG world standards for video coding, and lent coherence to European digital video broadcasting developments. Continued European strength in multi-wavelength transmission on optical fibres for the very high capacity (bandwidth) now required in the Internet backbones was developed through research in photonic technologies, which also focused on all-optical networking, eliminating the need for expensive and slow electronic switching and information. High-speed networking research led to world leadership in ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) technologies and systems in trans-European and global networking. In total over 4000 scientific papers have been published; over 1200 contributions have been made to standardisation, and over 140 new patents have been registered. Final reports are also available from over 120 individual ACTS projects concerned with interactive digital multimedia services, photonic technologies, high speed networking, mobility and personal communications networks, service engineering, security and communications management, and horizontal actions