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Use the pipeline: Reding urges content distribution via the web.

A European digital single market is the key to unlocking the potential of the knowledge based economy, according to Vivian Reding, the member of the European Commission responsible for information society and media.

Speaking in Brussels last month, Reding said that the digital single market is like an oilfield, enabling a range of services that will lead the European economy to become digital and knowledge-based.

She said: "All our work aimed at modernising the rules of telecommunications, at promoting the take-up of internet broadband, at developing ultra-fast, competitive and secure next generation networks will be almost useless if we don't promote the takeup of internet based services and of content distribution via the web.

"Why would you build an oil pipeline if you don't have oil to flow in it?"

In the speech Reding laid down her immediate priorities for a digital economy. They include boosting digital services, overcoming market fragmentation and improved co-ordination on copyright issues within the EU. She also emphasised the need for a policy framework to prevent Europe from losing out to the US over book digitisation.

Reding backed the digital single market for consumers, creative industries and internet service providers, which is promoted by the European Digital Media Association (EDiMA) in its white paper on the future of the internet published in June this year.

Her plans for the digital agenda come in response to EDiMA's white paper, which aims to set out the priorities of the information society for the next five years.

As a first priority, she called for European nations to take decisive steps on addressing the issue of mass digitisation of books and orphan works or risk losing it to the US and called for issues over copyright regulations to be resolved.

The free movement of digital services in Europe is severely hindered by fragmented sets of national rules, she said. "Unless we tackle this problem, we will never reach the full potential of the knowledge economy for both businesses and consumers."

Reding said that achieving the single market will be impossible if the EU leaves aside certain parts of the population, so it should seek an all-inclusive European-wide adoption of the global web accessibility and net neutrality.

She added that 15% of the population of the European Union is disabled and EU rules on accessibility are still fragmented, with each member state going it's own way. She said: "We have to consider that this is costly for industry because it has to respond to a wide range of fragmented national standards. It also leaves disabled people without a consistent level of service."
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Publication:Information World Review
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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