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Posted on September 2, 2016 by staff

Europe ‘must invest 700bn euros in digital infrastructure’

Europe ‘must invest 700bn euros in digital infrastructure’

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger
Jacques Grießmayer, via Wikimedia Commons
Commissioner Guenther Oettinger

A European Union commissioner responsible for the digital economy has said Europe needs to invest up to €700 billion in its digital infrastructure to compete with the United States and China.

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said rapid development of fibre-optic networks and 5G wireless applications and networks are key.

“Investments of €600-700 billion (£500-600bn) are needed in the European area, according to our calculations,” he told the European Alpbach forum, an annual conference in Austria.

Warning against the underdevelopment of infrastructure, he said: “We will lose [if that happens], because important technological applications will not be possible any longer in our industry.”

Amazon and Google benefit from more relaxed data regulations in the US, compared with Europe, and Commissioner Oettinger said there is a need for unified digital standards on this continent.

“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 said.

“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.

“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.”  

The Austrian also urged his countrymen to not vote for right-wing parties in upcoming national elections as it could deter technology experts from migrating to Europe.

There have been fears that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will limit the amount of talent driving forward the tech sector.

The Brexit vote does not absolve businesses from adhering to impending European regulations.