This week saw the launch of the first phase of the EU's five-year plan to modernize and unify Internet's infrastructure across Europe, reported the Wall Street Journal. The project is called the Future Internet Public Private Partnership program (FI-PPP) and it is worth €600 million. European Union is investing half of that money, the rest would come from the member states, research institutions and private companies. Already 158 partner organizations and companies have signed up for the initiative, together with 23 countries and 18 academic institutions. According to Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for the digital agenda, the aim of the project is to address the challenges holding back internet development in Europe.
The first phase of the project (worth €40 million) would last two years and would concentrate on developing a generic toolbox for improving Internet's privacy, real-time processing of data and cloud computing. The toolbox will be open for anyone to innovate, using Agilefant application that is built at Aalto University.
Created tools would then be tested in large-scale trials of internet services and applications. The trails would also last two year and would concentrate on eight case projects, each receiving around €5 million. The areas of interest are: environmental data in the public domain, making the food value-chain smarter, reaping the benefits of electricity management at community level, networked media, personal mobility, safety in urban public areas and increasing efficiency in international logistics value-chains.
Overall, the project strives to encompass all areas of public domain where Internet infrastructure is outdated, fragmented, lacks capacity or is virtually non-existent. As the initiative's website states: 'The main goal is to advance a shared vision for harmonised European-scale technology platforms and their implementation, as well as the integration and harmonisation of the relevant policy, legal, political and regulatory frameworks.' In short, the message that Europe needs to become united in the online sphere has finally registered with the policy-makers.
Neelie Kroes emphasized Europe's need to catch up with the increased output of data and build networks that can benefit from the growing connectedness and data-sharing. 'We need to grab this opportunity to ensure Europe’s future competitiveness; but also to safeguard European values like privacy, openness, and diversity and to unlock European creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship', she commented.
Needless to say, updating and unifying Internet across Europe is extremely useful for online businesses. Perhaps the project would facilitate a common ground for entrepreneurs working in and with Europe to explore captured data in innovative ways and build valuable new services. All in all, the initiative marks a positive change in digital realm and opens up a world of possibilities for many actors.