Europe urged to speed up analog to digital switchover

Member countries of the European Union are being urged to accelerate their timescales for switching over from analog television broadcasting to digital by Telecoms and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding as a way to stimulate the sector.

Delivering The Ludwig Erhard Lecture 2009 at the Lisbon Council in Brussels, Reding said she is planning to outline this week a package of draft measures to the speed up the switchover that will then be put out to consultation.

The commissioner has long been an outspoken supporter of the switchover, as it frees up airwaves to be used for other business ventures such as mobile broadband.

The Commission estimates that the incremental value of this spectrum for wireless broadband across the EU is between Euros 150 and Euros 200 billion. Appropriate European coordination of Member States’ work on the digital dividend would increase the potential economic impact of the digital dividend by an additional Euros 50 billion between now and 2015.

Reding: “I call therefore on all EU governments: Don’t wait until 2012, the EU-wide deadline for the final digital switch-off, to bring these benefits to you businesses and citizens. Act swiftly now.”

In her talk, Reding also set out her vision for the next five years highlighting four priorities for telecom reform.

The European Commission should create a simple legal framework to make it easier for consumers to access digital content, and push for the creation of a safe system for mobile payments, she said.

Europe should also open up the digital economy for smaller businesses she urged, by creating an E.U.-based so-called cloud computing system, similar to that which already exists in the U.S.

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