The European Commission (EC) just planned to get rid of geo-blocking (yes, those hateful “not available in your country yet” messages you get when you’re trying to access content) by the end of 2016. Long live the European Commission! This faith-restored-in-humanity moment came with the Juncker Commission decided to “remove these obstacles and create a Digital Single Market”. The EC believes that the Digital Single Market is capable of creating upto €340 billion in additional growth, 100,000s of new jobs and a “vibrant knowledge-based society”.
The Single Market Act, designed to boost the European economy and create jobs, made it possible for people to buy and sell goods and services across the European Union, reports Ars Technica. But since the digital market was not unified under the Single Market, the Commission has proposed three main areas to focus on:
– Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services: Cross border e-commerce and simpler VAT arrangements for SMEs, Ban on geo-blocking and copyright law modernisation to ensure balance between creators and consumers.
– Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish: Revision of telecom and media rules to invest in infrastructure because digital services are the backbone of the internet, enhanced transparency for strengthening trust in online services & swift removal of illegal content under Data Protection Regulation.
– Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential: integration of new tech and transition to it for a Smart industrial system, faster development for interoperability of new tech, addressing big data in terms of ownership, data protection and standards, right framework for cloud computing, interoperable e-services including e-gov and e-health, digital skills development for accessing more jobs.
In the words of Andrus Ansip, VP for Digital Single Market, “Let us do away with all those fences and walls that block us online. People must be able to freely go across borders online just as they do offline. Innovative businesses must be helped to grow across the EU, not remain locked into their home market. This will be an uphill struggle all the way, but we need an ambitious start. Europe should benefit fully from the digital age: better services, more participation and new jobs”.
In short, the future for Europe has arrived.
First World Problems alert: According to the EC, only 25% of Europeans are able to access 4G in their hometowns as compared to over 90% of Americans having 4G access. Europe continues to see high internet penetration (almost all above 50% of their population except Armenia, Moldova, Turkey, Serbia and Ukraine which are slightly below 50%).
Image Credit: Flickr user Patrick