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DOCUMENTS: Water and Telecoms Reports

  • March 30th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-flag-reduced2.pngThe EU disclosed on World Water Day it was unhappy with its own water quality performance; and it is still not fully satisfied with telecom services to its citizens and business.WATER DAY

Activities for World Water Day (22.3.07) included the publication of a research report reviewing progress with water development projects being co-ordinated between Europe and partners in Africa, Asia, Eastern European states and Central Asia.

It talks about evaluating “water paradigms”, and in a highly scientific way gives information on achievements, like saving water used in agriculture, and problems, whether with communications and public awareness, or problems of a political kind.

On the same occasion the European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said water quality standards in the European Union itself had a long way to go.

There were quality problems throughout most of the EU area, and better efforts were needed from member governments to contribute to joint policies for achieving sustainable and clean supplies of water.

TELECOMS PLUSSES AND MINUSES

EU media staff and executives told a room-full of ringtones and message buzzes, 29.3.07, what the journalists and most other Europeans know well: telecom services have been getting cheaper and more efficient, but there are still serious bottlenecks.

Gone are the days of antiquated services in modern countries.

The Commissioner for Telecommunications, Viviane Reding, said opening markets to more competition had produced sector growth rates of 2.3% p.a., and 5% in investment, “good but not good enough”; tariffs had dropped, e.g. for three-minutes on a standard line, by 40% over seven years – to an average 25 cents (A$0.41; Dcerates.com 29.3.07) .

The report cited large paces forward in some key areas, e.g. broadband growth, with more than 20 million new subscriptions in 2006, bringing penetration in the EU to 15.7%. Denmark and the Netherlands had the world’s highest penetration rates at nearly 30% each.

Current main political focus is on getting caps off mobile phone rates, especially for “roam” services, where citizens of the “single market” EU are paying heavy premiums when they take their phones across nearby borders – a regular part of European life.

Officials are engaged in hard talk with companies while they work on regulations; politicians let it be known that roam rates got onto the table at the two recent summits of EU heads of government

Reference:

European Commission, DG Research (2007); EU-INCO Water Research from FP4 to FP6 (1994-2006): a Critical Review; Brussels; EUR22017

EC Information Society and Media (2007); European Electronic Communications, Regulation and Markets 2006 (12th Report); Brussels; SEC(2007)403

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