Ten telecom companies with a market cap of €200bn will attend a summit next week in Dundalk with communications ministers from throughout the EU as well as the accession states.
The CEO Roundtable Summit will be hosted by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern TD and will be held at Dundalk Institute of Technology next Thursday, 22 April.
The first of its kind in Europe, the summit will allow ministers and their policy making teams to collaborate with the private sector to map out the future of broadband and converging technologies. The executives are expected to press EU Ministers and EU Communications Commissioner Errki Likaanen to continue to build awareness and uptake of broadband across Europe so that the expanded EU can compete with economies in South East Asia and the United States.
It is estimated that the European consumer market for paid content and applications such as video messaging, video-enhanced gaming and home security will exceed €3.1bn by 2007. Broadband internet consumers spend 50pc more time and 64pc more money shopping online than dial-up consumers. Some €77bn worth of business is currently transacted online within the EU alone.
One of the other key issues at the summit will be the drawing up of a blueprint to tackle spam or unsolicited email. The roundtable summit is expected to press for legislative initiatives and greater co-operation between the EU and US in tackling this growing issue.
Among the executives attending are Phlip Rowley, President of AOL Europe; Cesar Alierta, CEO of Telefonica; Martina King, managing director country operations of Yahoo and Serge Tchuruk, chairman of Alcatel.
The conference will also be addressed by international broadband experts such as Minister Takahara from Japan; Allan Rock, former Communications Minister of Canada and Sam Paltridge, head of telecoms policy at the OECD.
Minister Ahern said: “This is a major Summit which will spell out where we, as Ministers, need to focus our policy aims in the future. Broadband is providing a platform for sustaining and creating jobs across Europe, as well as helping business and consumers work and play smarter. The fact that such leading executives from the top European telcos are coming to Ireland and Dundalk will provide us with a platform also to show off what we have to offer. These companies employ hundreds of thousands of people across Europe.”
By John Kennedy