From the beginning of the Juncker Commission, a Digital Single Market has been right at the top of the agenda. With 315 million Europeans using the internet every day, reaching this goal means that a huge number of different actors must come together.
When the Commission presented its strategy back in May, many of the elements were already on the table: roaming charges were en route to being abolished, the new data protection regulation was already well advanced and talks were moving forward on a cybersecurity law.
But much more is needed if we are to achieve a real Digital Single Market. According to the Commission, only 15% of consumers shop online with a trader based in another EU country for a variety of reasons. What is the key to opening up these barriers? How can the EU best support ubiquitous connectivity and reap the benefits of eCommerce, cloud computing and big data innovation?
The European Commission is about to launch a major public consultation to reform the rules that currently regulate how Europeans communicate. The overhaul of the telecoms regulatory framework will be a gigantic policy exercise, involving the revision of three Directives, but rules must be created so that suppliers and consumers alike can make informed choices.
Big questions will be raised: how can the EU step up the deployment of digital networks to get the super-fast connectivity it needs? Should internet giants such as Google or Facebook also be regulated? Is geo-blocking a serious problem? Is a digital single market even possible without a telecoms single market?
All of this will happen while national regulators are asked to start implementing new rules on net neutrality and the principle that internet service providers should treat all online content, sites and platforms equally.
Director-General, DG CNECT, European Commission
Roberto Viola holds a Doctor degree in Electronic Engineering (Dr. Eng.) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). From 2005 to 2012, he was the Secretary General in charge of managing AGCOM (Italian media and telecom regulator). He was Chairman of the European Radio Spectrum Policy group (RSPG) from 2012 to 2013, and Deputy Chairman in 2011 and Chairman in 2010, member of the BEREC Board (Body of European Telecom Regulators), and Chairman of the European Regulatory Group (ERG) in 2007. He served as Director of Regulation Department and Technical Director in AGCOM from 1999 to 2004, in charge of inter alia, regulation in terrestrial, cable and satellite television, frequency planning, access and interconnection of communication services, cost accounting and tariff in telecommunication and broadcasting services. From 1985-1999 he served in various positions as a staff member of the European Space Agency (ESA) in particular, he has been Head of Telecommunication and Broadcasting Satellite Services. As Deputy Director-General, he is responsible for Electronic Communications Networks and Services, Cooperation, International and Inter-institutional relations, Stakeholders cooperation, Coordination, Growth and Jobs, Innovations and Knowledge Base, Media and Data.
Pilar del Castillo Vera MEP, EPP Group
Member of ITRE Committee
Born in 1952. Granada. Professor of Political Science and Administration. Doctor of Law. Fulbright Scholarship and postgraduate studies, Ohio State University. Member, ‘International Political Science Association’ (IPSA). Specialist in Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour. Director, New Magazine of Politics, Culture and Art (1994-1996). President, Sociological Research center (1996-2000). Minister of Education, Culture and Sport (2000-2004). Former member, National Parliament for Granada. MEP since 2004.
Chairman of the Executive Board, ETNO
Steven Tas has been chairman of ETNO, Europe’s leading telecoms association, since January 2015. He has been leading the regulatory department of Belgacom Proximus – the main Belgian telecom operator – since 2008. He joined Belgacom Proximus in 1994 and has occupied different positions within the company’s strategy division. He is a member of the ETNO board since 2009 and a member of the board of Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) since 2010. Mr Tas holds a master’s degree in Civil Engineering and Industrial Management from the University of Leuven.
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