So for the simpleminded like myself, and presupposing the role should exist, what then should the new Commissioners agenda be exactly?
Say over the next 4 years.
Could we have that bullet-pointed?
Neelie Kroes' stint as the EU's “Commissioner for a Digital Agenda” ends when the Barroso II Commission closes up shop in the autumn. Perhaps the post should be abolished with her departure. The Dutch economist could have carved out a distinctly European approach, distinct from the Asian autocracies and American Wild West, but …
Wasn't this the same Neelie who was "amazed" that people turn off data roaming when abroad because they don't want to be hit by sky high charges?
It must be nice to have unlimited internet access on your phone wherever you go in the world with the bill picked up by someone else. That's the only reason I can come up with that explains her surprise.
And she actually did quite a job fixing it. It is largely thanks to her that roaming bills are now capped.
If that is the case, then I think that the premise of this article (that she was "worse than useless") is not only incorrect but also rather unfair.
Vodafone had a flat rate tenner a day roaming plan years ago. I know, because I used it. Now we have all kinds of deals cheaper than the EU mandated rate. Only idiots were gouged for data, and only idiots need the EU to save them from their own stupidity.
Not even close, the quote is:
“I am honestly shocked by these figures," said EC veep and unelected digital czar Neelie Kroes. "It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. Consumers are limiting their phone use in extreme ways and this makes no sense for the companies either.
Free of restrictions, free of recrimination, free of stupidity, free of anyones interference, free of ridiculous charges.
Not free of charge.
Here in the USA we have VERY little choice in who provides internet service and the required bandwith. AT&T wants to be 100% wireless, Verizon is giving up wires for fiber but you lose all POTs service if you can change, Comcast just bought Time Warner, who already bought most of the locals.
The cable or fiber providers will not tell you that ALL DIGITAL TV is "streamed". It "eats" bandwidth so your "internet" bandwidth is compromised by EVERYTHING people are watching. Wireless does not have enough bandwidth.
WHAT do you do?
I'm not if it's really fair to criticise Mrs Kroes in this way. The remit "digital agenda" is a bit stupid anyway and comes from the need to have as many commissioners as member states seeing as no one, not even the apparently so efficiency-minded Brits, is prepared to sacrifice one in the name of efficiency. So, in addition to some of the good commissioners and the usual fluff, we got some "job-fors". She was quite good as competition commissioner but got moved sideways to make way for Almuña - Spain being bigger than the Netherlands.
Then again, this is a bit of a storm in a teacup - she doesn't have much of a budget. You'll find more guff and waste in any quango. And criticising any policy "statements" made via Twitter seems a bit like scraping the barrel to me. Does anyone take anything posted on it, seriously?
A bit of a hatchet job from Andrew Orlowski who's pieces I usually enjoy reading. To be honest the only thing I can recall Kroes working on is the whole mobile roaming issue and also harmonising the EU's telecoms regulation which I can't imagine is a bad thing.
I'm no expert on Net Neutrality but from the piece I gather Andrew is not happy that she didn't pursue this area more vigorously? In which case I suggest this is an area way outside her pay grade as its a global concern and her focus should be on EU wide issues.
I'm not defending Kroes but if you look at the uselessness of OFCOM than in comparison perhaps her impact isn't as useless as Andrew suggests.