EC plans €600m Web investment

The European Commission has detailed a €600 million public-private partnership (PPP) investment scheme designed to safeguard the future of the Internet in the region.
Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said the five-year plan is essential to help member states cash in on a virtual economy that will be worth €800 billion in 2014, and will help the region stay competitive against global competitors.
“Europe must mobilize all its talent to keep ahead in this sector, not only to ensure Europe’s future competitiveness and to unlock European creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, but also to safeguard…values like privacy, openness and diversity,” Kroes commented.
The commissioner said the PPP is a “smart” use of public funds. The EC will stump up half of the scheme’s total investment, with the remainder set to come from private investors. A total of 152 private firms and research organizations have already committed to the scheme. Those firms will pump €90 million into the first phase of the project, which runs until end-2012 and aims to develop general tools covering privacy, real-time processing and cloud computing, to enable trials to start in 2013.
An additional eight projects are set to receive up to €5 million over the next two years to develop new technologies covering environmental data, food supply chains, electrical management, urban public infrastructure, entertainment and media content, personal mobility and public safety.