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Preparatory actions in Integrated Broadband Communications (TEN-IBC).

In preparation for future Community actions to stimulate the emergence of high-speed transEuropean communications networks and services, the Commission of the European Communities is inviting proposals for preparatory actions.

Europe has already a substantial broadband trunk network. However, Europe's high-speed communication networks are still fragmented and differ in their level of development. The Community programme of Research in Advanced Communications Technologies in Europe (RACE) has developed common functional specifications and the technology basis for an Europe-wide introduction of Integrated Broadband Communications (IBC). The Treaty of European Union calls for the establishment of transEuropean networks and this implies the preparation of guidelines for the introduction of broadband networks and the access to those networks, taking into account the necessity to link the peripheral regions with the central regions of the Community.

The coherent implementation of high-speed networks and services will require a wide consensus on interoperation specifications and guidelines. These will be based on feasibility studies and trials. They will be developed in accordance with the objectives and priorities set by the European actors (users, service providers, telecommunications operators, equipment and software suppliers).

The specific objectives of the preparatory actions are the development of a framework of action for the sector actors drawing the maximum benefit from the Community dimension, the development of a consensus on guidelines and the establishment of the techno-economic feasibility of the applications in view of the introduction of transEuropean Integrated Broadband Communications (IBC) oriented to meet real user requirements.

These preparatory actions will cover all aspects of the development of transEuropean telecommunications networks and will be consolidated into guidelines for implementation which should reflect a wide consensus among all actors concerned. Preparatory actions will address:

- Demand driven IBC trials;
- Development of target specifications;
- Analysis of investment and interworking implications in each Member State;
- Consolidation and consensus development of guidelines;
- Validation in the context of Europe-wide application trials;

As a first step, the present call for proposals will address trial definitions for operational Europe-wide IBC applications in the following areas:

- Citizen Networks;
- Networks of Expertise and Science;
- Industry Networks;
- Business Networks;
- Administrative Networks;
- Media Networks.

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