Europe's digital revolution – from smartphones to ultra-high-speed internet, the app economy and research into future and emerging technologies – is driven largely by technological and market innovation. The EU has played a vital supporting role by:
The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. Completing the digital single market will:
Existing online barriers restrict access to goods and services, as:
The idea behind the digital single market is to move from 28 national markets to a single one. A fully functional digital single market could contribute €415 bn per year to our economy, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The Digital Single Market Strategy, which includes 16 initiatives ranging from copyright to cyber security runs up to the end of 2016. It is based on:
Digital technologies are central to Europe's economic growth. Yet while 250 m Europeans use the internet daily, 18% have never used it at all.
The digital economy is growing 7 times as fast as the rest of the economy. Much of this growth has been fuelled by broadband internet. Today's high-speed broadband networks are having just as great an impact as electricity and transport networks a century ago. They are also paving the way for innovative services such as eHealth, smart cities and data-driven manufacturing.
The European Commission is encouraging the spread of high-speed broadband through:
As part of the digital single market strategy, the Commission will also overhaul EU telecoms rules to create incentives for investment in high-speed connectivity. The information and communication technology (ICT) sector represents nearly 5% of the EU economy and generates a quarter of total business expenditure. Investments in ICT account for half of all European productivity growth.
The EU's regulatory role has developed to keep pace with new technologies and market trends:
The rules are applied independently by the authorities in each EU country, with national regulators coordinating their policies at EU level through the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).