On March 8, 2011, The European Institute held a meeting of its Transatlantic Roundtable on Telecommunications and Information Technology with Pierre Louette, Executive Vice President and Group General Secretary and Eric Debroeck, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs from France Telecom – Orange. Mr. Louette and Mr. Debroeck offered their perspectives on the telecommunications regulatory environment in the transatlantic community and assessed the current debate over net neutrality and broadband deployment, both in the United States and in Europe.

In the space of half a generation, the Internet has become one of the most important mechanisms on the planet. Every human being, whether aware of it or not, depends upon it for material well being and for broader, non-economic benefits in social, cultural, political, and other realms.The Internet’s unprecedented growth is not the only unusual thing about it.

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On September 23, 2010, The European Institute hosted a luncheon meeting with Ambassador Philip Verveer, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State. With the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Plenipotentiary Meeting only weeks in the offing, Ambassador Verveer addressed prospects for a new international telecommunications regulatory regime and emphasized the importance of limiting governmental controls. Additional areas of particular priority for the United States were internet governance and cyber security, and he stressed the importance of U.S.-EU cooperation in the setting of international telecommunications standards.  Ambassador Verveer expressed his support for the European Union’s ambitious new digital agenda, and spoke of the productive discussions he has had with officials from the European Commission’s Information Society and Media Directorate. A key mutual interest is the potential of cloud computing, which would make computing infrastructure and services available on a utility-like basis.

On September 23, 2010, The European Institute held a seminar with European and American experts to discuss Bridging the Global Digital Divide: Prospects and Challenges for the Expansion of Satellite Broadband.  Organized in cooperation with the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO), the meeting focused on the vital role that broadband technology can play in effectively spanning the digital divide and assessed the myriad challenges to refurbishing and building the civilian space infrastructure necessary to meet rapidly expanding global digital needs.

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Obama Administration Releases FCC’s “National Broadband Plan"

A plan to drastically reshape America’s broadband policy was released amid great anticipation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March 2010. The National Broadband Plan (known as the NBP or just “the Plan”)[1], it is a sweeping set of proposals produced in response to the Congress’s direction (in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA to develop a plan with the primary objective of providing ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband service throughout America.  The ARRA also required that the Plan set forth a detailed strategy for utilizing broadband to advance a set of broad policy goals, including “consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes.”[2]

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