The benefits of broadband availability to citizens are increasingly evident in economic, social and cultural areas. Given the diverse benefits of broadband availability, wireless broadband and universal access should remain a top political priority for EU leaders.
Despite the European Commission objective to provide broadband to all European citizens by 2013, the reality is still quite different. According to EC survey data, around 68% of the EU households had broadband access, by end 2011. Industry welcomes the EC’s recent acknowledgement that only a mix of technologies will achieve 100% coverage. Wireless broadband roll out trends in the EU clearly show that the 2013 objectives will not be achieved and the only way to come as close as possible will be to take an approach based on a mix of technologies where various wireless technologies play a fundamental role. Challenges remain however to ensuring fast & effective roll-out of wireless technologies such as 3G/4G mobile broadband but also in enabling hybrid solutions involving satellite that bring backbone connectivity to remote areas while pulling on the benefits of terrestrial solutions as well.
The breakfast debate will explore the issues around deploying wireless broadband and look at the necessary policy measures to foster its extension.
James Elles, MEP and EIF co-Founder
Gerard de Graaf, Director: Electronic Communications Networks and Services, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Patrick Biewer, Managing Director, SES Broadband Services
Mikael Halen, Director Government & Industry relations, Ericsson