Following the election and the resultant coalition I’m not sure where the UK stands on Europe! However the 19 May saw the publication of a Digital Agenda for Europe. The site includes a number of electronic documents including a paper entitled “What would it do for me” and a country-by-country profile, which includes the UK.
There’s nothing obviously new in the plans but it does give a sense that we haven’t got as far as the Lisbon Treaty or the Bangermann report had planned and the resultant frustration in Brussels is driving requirements now.
However I find the actual statistics somewhat dubious. According to them the UK has 100% access to DSL broadband and are top in Europe. Although measures are being taken to improve this, I’m not aware that we actually have 100%! In fact it then goes on to state that coverage is 99.6% in rural areas, which I still suspect is an exaggeration…
It also states that 100% of “basic government services” are available online. These must be more of the Cap-Gemini or Accenture statistics that I, and others, find so frustrating! In fact the rest of the figures leave me in serious doubt as to what they actually mean.
I know we have to start somewhere with benchmarks, but a reality check would be helpful.
However, and in addition, I have reservations over any further development of the EU Services Directive given the recent farce with ELMS by BIS or whatever the Whitehall department may be called in future. This is another of those initiatives that would have been wonderful in the year 2003 but is now imposed upon existing technical solutions at great cost and effort. I suspect Whitehall have no idea of the grief they caused!