EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘High-speed Internet not the answer’:

Your article reveals some of the complexity in rolling out Internet access. The objective of providing all citizens with the opportunity to use ICT has clear value as a means to boost business productivity and service delivery, particularly in regional areas. However, in order to be successful, this vision needs to be coupled with a well-thought out strategy for implementation.

The question of land-based networks versus satellite Internet highlights the different technological options that are open to the programme. However, if the potential of broadband is to be fully unlocked, then physical infrastructures need to be complemented with a skills infrastructure. If end users are not equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to make use of new technology, then Internet connectivity may not be used to its full potential (‘We built, they came, but couldn’t use it’) or indeed may not be used at all (‘we built and no-one came’).

As opposed to the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, which addresses skills and infrastructure needs separately, e-skills and Internet access must be treated in concert if improved access is to be translated into enhanced productivity.

As a DG Information Society 2007 conference on ‘Bridging the Broadband Gap’ identified in its conclusions, “ICT skills and digital literacy are critical to the effectiveness of any broadband strategy”. It is clear that the EU’s high-speed strategy must encompass a skills dimension.

Dr. Michael Gorriz, European eSkills Association co-chair, president of EuroCio and CIO of Daimler AG
Jan Muehlfeit, European eSkills Association co-chair and chairman of Microsoft Europe

On behalf of EeSA Members
EeSA members include: Council of European Professional Informatics Societies/CEPIS; Cisco Systems; Computing Technology Industry Association/ CompTIA; European Grants and Subsidies Consulting/Econet; European Information Technology Observatory/EITO; ECDL Foundation; European Schoolnet; European Software Association; European Network of CIOs/euroCIO; Examination Institute for Information Science/EXIN; Hewlett Packard/HP; Intel; Oracle and Microsoft (see http://www.eskillsassociation.eu).

The European e-Skills Association was founded in June 2007 as the e-Skills Industry Leadership Board. It cooperates with public authorities across Europe, small and medium-sized companies, social partners and other stakeholders, building upon European Commission initiatives on e-Skills and lifelong learning. With its expanded membership, the EeSA is set to lead the contribution of ICT-embedded industries to the development and implementation of a long term e-skills and digital literacy agenda in Europe.

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