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KONSULTATION: Public Consultation on the Digital Divide (i2010)

The Digital Divide is a virtual forum addressing geographical discrepancies in broadband coverage. Stakeholders, MemberStates, regional and local authorities are invited to read the Digital Divide Report and express their views by answering the questions below. The consultation will close on Friday 16th September 2005. All replies will be published on the site unlessspecifically requested otherwise. The Commission will follow up the public consultation by a Communication by the end of2005. Join in the Digital Divide Forum!

Lower coverage, high cost and low quality of broadband in remote, rural or sparsely populated areas of the European Union are often the main reasons driving public intervention on broadband for the social and economic development of these areas.

General questions relatingto policy proposals and to policy proposal 1:

  1. Is there a need for new public policy actions at the European level to stimulate the provision of broadband in remote, rural or sparsely populated areas of the European Union? YES/NO
  2. If YES, which ones? National broadband strategies, regulatory intervention, financial support,exchange of best/good practice, other measures?
  3. On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 low and 5 high), how do you rate the justification for the need for publicintervention for broadband in these areas, in particular the non-availability of broadband infrastructure (lack of coverage), high end-user prices (affordability), and the low quality of available services?
    Rate “Lack of coverage”:
    Rate “Affordability”:
    Rate “Quality of Service”:
  4. Can you identify further bottlenecks that inhibit broadband deployment in rural areas and corresponding policy options to address them?

    Specific questions relating to the policy proposal 2: “Provide active assistance by using a website for regional and local authorities to publish their plans on a voluntary basis.”
  5. On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 Low, 5 High), how do you rate the usefulness of such a site for regional/local authorities and network operators in terms of assessment/aggregation of demand, exchange of best practices, and publication of regional local broadband plans, etc.?
    Rate usefulness for regional or local authorities:
    Rate usefulness for network operators:
  6. Can you suggest an alternative mechanism (to the website) to aggregate demand, without distorting competition and private incentives, in areas where satellite is considered to be the best solution for broadband delivery?
  7. Which other activitiescould be undertaken by the website?

Responses should be sent toinfso-i2010 (a) by September 16th 2005.