The European Commission is looking at ways in which all Europeans can have access to broadband internet by 2010.
Seven per cent of the European Union (EU) population is still not connected to broadband, according to a new Commission report.
"High-speed internet is the passport to the information society and an essential condition for economic growth," said EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding.
Reding explained that European take-up of broadband services has increased rapidly in the past four years, and tools such as satellite broadband are helping this process.
But she insisted that more needs to be done. "Take up requires access, and it is not there in parts of the EU," she said.
The EU is currently using three methods to promote broadband in Europe: it is stimulating competition between telecoms providers to ensure increased investment in optical fibre networks; the European Parliament and the Council have launched a one-stop shop to authorise mobile satellite services which will deliver broadband via satellite across the EU; and the Commission has asked to reform radio spectrum management in order to free resources for new wireless services.
Any spare radio spectrum available after the move from analogue to digital TV could be used for new wireless broadband services, and not simply new TV channels, the Commission said.
The report follows news of Google's Free the Airwaves campaign in the US. Google appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a licence to use unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels, so-called 'white spaces', to provide wireless internet connectivity nationwide.
The FCC is expected to make a ruling in the coming months on whether this licence will be issued, but a number of individuals have registered their concerns with the initiative because it could mean disruption to other wireless technology, such as microphones, that also use the 'free' white spaces.
Google said that it currently has no plans for a similar initiative in the UK.
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