EU unveils Digital Single Market plan

The European Union has unveiled its proposals for the Digital Single Market as it attempts to corral its 28 member states into a common market for digital goods, capital, content and services.

The plan, which the EU has been working on for the last six months, contains 16 initiatives ranging from a revamp of the region’s telecommunications rules to a harmonisation of its copyright and tax regimes.

The plan itself is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy. The full plan can be read here.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the plan would lay the groundworks for the EU’s digital future.

He said: “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe.

“Exactly a year ago, I promised to make a fully Digital Single Market one of my top priorities. Today, we are making good on that promise. The 16 steps of our Digital Single Market Strategy will help make the Single Market fit for a digital age.”

And the launch of the plan, which the Digital Single Market project team will deliver on  by the end of 2016, has been welcomed by the industry.

Matthias Kurth, executive chairman of Cable Europe, said: “This is a determined move to put in place a robust roadmap for a European digital future which serves both businesses and citizens in equal measure.

“It is now imperative that the detail is right; that we work together towards a future proof plan which recognises a mix of technologies, keeps a technology neutral approach, and does not stifle innovation and investment.

“As a major enabler of European broadband, the cable industry welcomes the opportunity to work with the Commission and other stakeholders as the strategy is implemented.”

Caroline van Weede, managing director of Cable Europe, added “Broadband is the backbone of any digital strategy, and the cable industry has already illustrated that private investment in high quality networks is a winning formula for customer choice and an intensely competitive market.

“The challenge now will be to create a legislative framework which is fit for purpose in satisfying a new type of customer demand.

“Portability of content out of home and abroad whilst protecting the creative industries’ revenue model will be a key part of this. We will look to the Commission to hold fast to these principles as more details of the Strategy are unveiled.”

Read more about the plan here