EC: Europe Need’s £580 Billion Digital Infrastructure Investment

Europe requires a significant investment in digital infrastructure, the European Union commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society has warned.

According to Reuters, Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Europe needs up to £580bn invested in its digital infrastructure if it is to retain parity with the United States and China.

If Europe can’t develop fibre-optic networks and next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications and networks fast enough, “we will lose, because important technological applications will not be possible any longer in our industry,” Oettinger was quoted as saying.

European Standards

According to Reuters, Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Europe needs up to £580bn invested in its digital infrastructure if it is to retain parity with the United States and China.

If Europe can’t develop fibre-optic networks and next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications and networks fast enough, “we will lose, because important technological applications will not be possible any longer in our industry,” Oettinger was quoted as saying.

“Investments of 600-700 billion euros (£504bn to £580bn) are needed in the European area, according to our calculations.”

He also pointed out that US tech giants such as Google and Amazon benefit from a US wide data standard, and are thus able to collect and use data on their customer needs better than their European rivals.

Oettinger is apparently touring European countries to promote the need for unified digital standards so European companies can better compete.

“In less than two years we will have one European legislative standard and a balance between data protection and the right to use the data,” he replied to a question as to when European-wide data regulation could be expected.

“Standards such as how to connect cars have to be the same in Europe. They should be strong enough to become part of the global norms and standards,” he was quoted as saying.

Tech Immigration

He urged European universities to increase their attempts to attract international IT pioneers.

“We have to bundle our European strength we have at universities and in the industry, or our 28 silos will be not strong enough to compete with Silicon Valley and the Chinese,” Oettinger reportedly said.

He also reportedly challenged European citizens voting for right-wing political parties, warning it could put off foreign tech experts from coming to Europe.

The comments by Oettinger come as more and more consumers take advantage of digital services. Earlier this year a Fujitsu survey found that a third of consumers would be prepared to leave their bank if they did not offer up to date technology as digital payments and online services.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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