The European Commission has published a Communication (COM(2004)108 final) which contains the mid-term review of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan.

The document contains a short section on broadband development, which expresses concerns about the level of competition for broadband communications remaining weak. 

The Communication does not contain strictly telecommunications regulatory action points, but identifies the following actions relating to the development of broadband communications.

  • Monitoring: Wider technological choice and multi-platform environments calls for more detailed monitoring efforts for example on national level Digital TV Switchover Plans.
  • Shift from supply to usage patterns: The shift from concern with simple connectivity to stimulating the use of broadband requires an assessment of how people integrate broadband into their daily activities. A better knowledge is needed of barriers to providing open and interoperable digital content and public services on all platforms.

  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): should be addressed at the EU level. The legal framework for the protection of DRMs is set by Directive 2001/29/EC, currently being transposed by Member States. But more transparency is required on the criteria that Member States use or will use to take into account the application of DRMs in determining remuneration schemes. The market is at a critical point of development. On the one hand, the absence of an interoperable DRM infrastructure may lead to further fragmentation of the market. On the other hand, a successful implementation of DRM technologies in systems and services will help to ensure the development of important new on-line content markets, a vital factor in the roll-out of broadband, as well as to support the economic vitality of the content industries more generally.

The full text of the mid-term review Communication, which also addresses other aspects of the eEurope Action Plan, can be accessed by clicking here.