The paper aims to report on a study for the European Commission that aimed to take a forward‐looking and broadly socio‐economic approach to the scope of future universal service in the light of technological and market developments.
The paper is based on a variety of primary and secondary research methods including desk research, literature review, expert interviews and workshop, scenario planning, needs and SWOT analysis.
The paper finds that the fundamental concept of universal service as a safety net for the disadvantaged remains valid as we look to the future. While the scope of universal service might evolve as the Information Society develops, the case for expansion of universal service across a diverse EU‐27, for instance to include broadband or mobile, is weak. The best way of achieving universal or near‐universal service is by ensuring a competitive European telecommunications market. Any remaining gaps in provision should be addressed by very targeted support for the disadvantaged and vulnerable.
The paper summarises a significant study intended to take a fresh look at universal service in the European Union.
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