back to article EU chucks €18m at research for stupidly fast networks

The European Commission has inked a €18m research deal with Japan to fund six separate projects that will examine ways of improving networks to allow them to carry more data. Brussels' officials said there was a "pressing need for new and more efficient networks in light of a massive online data explosion that is expected to …


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  1. Ruairi

    > Our Future Internet should know no barriers, least of all barriers created because we did not prepare for the data revolution.

    Sorry, darlin', speed of light is a constant.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15
      Thumb Down

      Bandwidth != latency.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    Just mandate FTTH everywhere in the EU to be implemented within 2 years.

  3. Stu J


    Why is the EU sending EU taxpayer funds out of the EU when there are plenty of companies in the EU who could take on more staff and benefit our combined economy if they were awarded the gig?

    1. Nextweek

      Re: Japan?

      You are right, the whole thing stinks. There is plenty of commercial research into this field. Plus sending the money to another country for it to improve its own tech industry is madness. Someone somewhere is getting a kickback for this surely?

      1. Matt 21

        Re: Japan?

        It does say "joint" venture so perhaps they couldn't find anyone with enough experience here in the EU. I can't see a problem with that if the knowledge is shared.

        I'm not sure why El Reg makes a point of mentioning that Neelie is unelected. Civil servants in the UK are unelected too. As long as there is oversight from MEPs, which there is, then there is no greater problem than with most other government organisations. It's almost as if the author is a member of UKIP!

        1. John 98

          Re: Japan?

          Steely Neely has done more for my mobile bill when travelling than any British politico or civil servant. She may be unelected but either she or the MEPs are doing a good job. Incidentally if she is unelected, read some history and you find the Brussels democratic deficit is a cause most dear to Whitehall's heart (proposed, seconded, vetoed for).

        2. The Axe

          Re: Japan? @Matt21

          This is the commission organising this research. The commission is not overseen by MEPs.

          1. Matt 21

            Re: Japan? @Matt21

            I don't agree. My understanding is:

            The commission has one commissioner per member state and a president who is elected by the European Parliament. The commissioners are appointed by the European Council and require a vote of approval by the European Parliament..The commissioners are in effect chosen by each countries government.

            The commission is the civil service of the European Parliament., charged with carrying out the decisions of the Parliament. The Commission can and does propose law changes but cannot make any changes without the sign off of the Parliament.

            The European Parliament. can also dismiss the Commissioners.

            The Commission does decide on the detailed implementation of laws passed by Parliament but this is overseen by the Comitology Committees who can and have blocked the Commission.

            So, yes I would say that the Commission has oversight, at least to my understanding.

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Japan?

      Maybe they want to work towards a joint standard that will become a de-facto world standard?

      For this kind of basic research it makes sense to have wide representation; as a tax payer I want the money used to develop open standards, not to subsidise the IP of private corporations.

  4. Wish You Were Here


    Shoorly that'll be "Up to the speed of light"?

  5. Magister

    Maybe it's me, but €18 million doesn't sound like a lot of money to be put into research for such a topic; especially when it's split 6 ways.

    Having said that, there is also the issue of how much bandwidth people actually need (rather than want). Does a home consumer really need to be downloading 100 DVD's a minute? A business might need to, but consumers shouldn't.

    I've also seen first hand just how bad some networks can be; and in each case, the real issue is that they are not properly designed, maintained or managed. In many cases, a bit more thought and effort in that area might produce significant results.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      With Gbps class networking the whole idea of 'downloading' stops being quite so necessary.

      At the very least you can park content on a server and do a Netflix, but with BluRay quality. (Or better.)

      But more than that, it makes VR more plausible.

      You don't necessarily want to wear a helmet that makes you look like a penis accessory. (Well, I don't, anyway.)

      But with a big TV and a good camera, you can get a visceral sense of being somewhere else that you're not going to get from a CrappyCam and the Lego-brick video you get on Skype.

      You can also start doing proper distributed computing, which is something that's long over due. (And that doesn't mean 'Cloud'.)

      Of course, none of this will happen in the UK, because *our* civil servants think markets are the holy invisible hand of god, and you can rely on them to sort out stuff like this without knocking heads together - because that's always worked so well in the past.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      This isn't so much the increase in speed for a discrete user's connection, this is backbone technology.

      i.e. You're in a street with 150 houses, 1/3 of which have an active Internet connection at 20Mb/s. Just that one street is looking at a peak throughput of 50 x 20Mb/s (4000 Mb/s). This street is neighboured to 9 other similar streets (10 x 4000Mb/s = 40,000Mb/s). This traffic has to get in and out of this neighbourhood, how many similar neighbourhoods are bundled together before the traffic starts diverging?

      Obviously, these are simple peak throughput examples, but when you start to use Video on Demand services these start chewing through inordinate bandwidth when taken in just a small area.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Faster *direct* access

    There's a pressing need for Europe to have *direct* networks to places it trades with/does politics like Japan, not through the US hubs, and not through the fiber optics that go through the UK either it seems.

    Germany in particular (I'm half German) needs far fewer links traversing US and UK controlled territory.

    The major speed improvement will come from eliminating man-in-the-middle attacks on HTTPS sessions.

    Perhaps we should spend the money laying some more fiber and developing end to end encryption on email?

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Faster *direct* access

      OK then, how does Russia or the Middle East grab you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faster *direct* access

      "Germany in particular (I'm half German) needs far fewer links traversing US and UK controlled territory."

      Why? NSA & GCHQ reportedly hacked into Chinese infrastructure, so the fact that your traffic could be tapped in the UK is irelevant: If they want your data (and they evidently do) then they'll help themselves regardless of the location of the data or the links it traverses.

      Even if it was territory specifc, you'll have the same spying problem with China and Russia, so how will you avoid links that traverse those countries or their patsies? I can't think of many nations willing to stick two fingers up the US (Iran, Norks), but Germany certainly won't say boo to that goose, nor will most other countries. The Morales incident shows that all European countries (including the US despising French) will jump when told to by the Yanks.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faster *direct* access

      Why more fibre? Secure email is readily available (pgp/gpg/smime) so surely all that's needed is a fit-for-purpose replacement for the NSA's SSL/TLS?... methinks latency might suddenly improve once they lose their ability to MITM our traffic.

  7. Lars Silver badge

    Looking ahead

    Not such a bad idea. perhaps. I pay for 10 but receive 6 to7. With double the traffic, what do I receive, 3 to 4 perhaps. And it is not only about us, users, but about the industry in the EU too, if any left. And as a fact I wish there was more "steely" in the EU.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The rocky road to ruin and inevitably also, because anything broken is always changed, change.

    Why is the EU sending EU taxpayer funds out of the EU when there are plenty of companies in the EU who could take on more staff and benefit our combined economy if they were awarded the gig? …. Stu J Posted Thursday 4th July 2013 11:00 GMT

    Stu J, Hi,

    It is mistake to think it is EU taxpayer funds whenever it is simply ECB quantitative easing flash cash being used as an incentive to obtain a leading advantage ….. which is how the system works to try to defend itself against others anonymous and more worldly-wise who have the new information and greater intelligence that the system needs to survive and prosper/improve and run freely without pathetic unnecessary glitches/conflicts/crazy destructive regime spring cleanings.

    Taxation is just one of those things which is used to have you not thinking and not accepting that money to spend is freely manufactured, and nowadays that is made even simpler and less irksome, because now are all major manufacturing and distribution networks supplied and service electronically/virtually, so one doesn't actually, whenever supposedly rich, have any cash in a stash at all, but an easily changed, second and third party hosted account balance to draw cash from institutions which have been given valuables and cash to store.

    And the simple fiat currency control of dumb mankind system is collapsing, and putting all of those who assume and presume to sit in power using taxation and in full support of fiat currency's easily abused modus operandi, in clear and present danger of being recognised as an ignorant and dangerous idiot to be removed from the floundering and foundering mainstream media world picture show and who be targeting the weakest and most vulnerable of beings.

    Now you know why having your own national currency is so convenient, for you can print and exchange as much of it as you like, but ideally, and some would even tell you that it be crucially and vital,if you want the system to survive and prosper/improve and run freely, is it a good idea to lode those and/or that [for nowadays is it more likely to be institutions and companies, and not accountable individuals, which are loded] which knows what needs to be done in a changed scenario and a smarter and getting smarter and better instantly informed world.

    You are not alone in your thinking though, Stu J, which is cold comfort I suppose, whenever such a lack of thinking causes so many more mounting and daunting problems to appear and cause mayhem.

  9. silviaalexe

    A few aspects to clarify on the story

    Hello, I am a member of the team in the European Commission which is behind the EU-Japan ICT cooperation referred to in this article. Firstly, we are really glad that you have picked upon this subject, but I would like to point out a couple of aspects in this article that do not paint a fully accurate picture of the overall EU-Japan ICT cooperation.

    Firstly, as you can see in the press release we issued on topic ( , the projects go far beyond looking at "ways of improving networks to allow them to carry more data". What they aim to do is redefine the current Internet architecture. The efficiency in carrying data is not only related to speed, but also to radio spectrum usage, energy efficient networks, cloud computing and cyber security.

    Both EU and Japan are contributing to the total €18 million for the 6 projects, since it is a joint Call for projects.

    Moreover, the European Commission's "concern" with the faltering network capacity is fully justified, given the latest European industry estimates (see the June 2013 Ericsson Mobility Report: A network's capacity to carry data impacts security and energy efficiency. Cloud computing, alongside energy efficiency in disaster situations help tackle data traffic and can trigger much faster connections.

    The Digital Agenda for Europe objectives are set up in such a way that EU citizens are provided with both ultra-high speed and reliable networks. The EU-Japan joint research projects are the result of a long lasting strategic partnership involving global leaders in telecommunications that have developed common targets in terms of ICT advances. In addition, the need for global standards behind the next generation of telecommunications fully justifies this partnership and stresses the worldwide dimension research has taken nowadays. European taxpayers are to experience the benefits behind such knowledge exchange in the long run, as proven previously in the case of GSM and 3G standards.

    I would like to thank you once again for covering this press release; We do look forward to any further engagement as we are committed to communicating our support towards European industrial and research leadership.

    Best regards,

    Silvia Alexe

    Communication Officer

    Network Technologies Unit

    DG CONNECT (Communications Networks, Content and Technology) , European Commission

  10. Anonymous Coward

    how much money?

    Fuck!, just hire some assassins to kill all of the spammers and the networks would be fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how much money?

      "Fuck!, just hire some assassins to kill all of the freetards and the networks would be fine."

      Fixed it for you.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: how much money?

      Have to agree with both of the above.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    There is a simple solution

    The solution is the same as with most complex systems: hire people who know what they are doing and fire the managers who don't.

    Do you need my address to send the check?

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