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Telecommunications and Information Society


The Austrian Presidency will focus its activities in the "Telecommunications" policy area on the information society:

Communications networks and services

Preparation of the review of the European regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services, scheduled to start in autumn 2006 (potentially, deliberations following the expected Commission Communication on the universal service).

The regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services consists of six directives, which came into force on 24 April 2002. The directives provide for a process to review the application and impact of that package. This review will start in 2006. Consequently, there is likely to be only preparatory work for this review during the Austrian Presidency.

Possible proposals to amend the regulatory framework will be presented by the European Commission by the summer of 2006, and discussed at European level in the second half of 2006.

The following basic objectives should be pursued through the new regulatory framework:

  • greater competition
  • take account of the convergence of telecommunications, media and information technologies (a single regulatory framework for all transmission networks)
  • improved protection of user rights
  • facilitation of market entry

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Promotion of European and international cooperation in the field of combating unsolicited communications (spam)

Due to their increasing volume, unsolicited communications (more than 60% of all email is spam) are increasingly perceived as a nuisance or a threat in terms of:

  • network stability and security
  • user confidence in the Internet as a medium
  • costs for businesses, providers (of telecommunications services) and end-users
  • fusion of spam and computer viruses

Concerted action against spam has therefore been given a high priority, and international activities, such as those in the context of the OECD Task Force on Spam or the EU Contact Network of Spam Enforcement Authorities (CNSA) will be continued and supported.

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Follow-up of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) relating to Internet administration and management

The World Summit on the Information Society was prepared by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) under the patronage of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. The summit was held in two phases: in Geneva on 10 to 12 December 2003, and in Tunis on 16 to 18 November 2005. The main aim of the summit was to focus on the key principles of the Information Society and to draw up a universally accepted vision of the Information Society.

During the first phase of WSIS (Geneva, December 2003) two documents were adopted in which the EU positions were largely accepted (Declaration of Principles, Action Plan). It was decided among other things to set up a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) at the United Nations, which will deal with the further development of Internet administration. At the first preparatory meeting for the second phase, it was confirmed that the discussions would primarily concentrate on implementation of the Geneva Action Plan and on Internet administration and funding.

The Austrian Presidency will work on the follow-up of the Tunis summit.

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i2010: European Information Society 2010

This European Commission initiative based on the new Lisbon strategy is a clear indication that the information and communications technology (ICT) sector should increasingly be a driver for more growth and employment in future.

The ambitious objectives are to be achieved through the following measures, among others:

  • an 80% increase in EU investment in ICT research (Europe invests only EUR 80 per capita in ICT research, lagging behind Japan (EUR 350) and the USA (EUR 400)
  • efficient radio spectrum management in Europe
  • modernisation of the rules for audiovisual media services and updating of the electronic communications regulatory framework
  • strategy for a secure Information Society
  • effective and interoperable administration of digital rights
  • action plan for e-government services close to the citizen
  • digitisation of libraries

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Date: 22.12.2005