The lack of a coherent approach to boosting technology accessibility across European nations has been attacked by a leading technology industry spokesman.
Mark McGann, Director General of the European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Association (EICTA), told the recent European Commission Vienna conference on digital inclusion that the lack of a cohesive approach in this field has been “a massive failure”.
He said the situation with accessibility was similar to that found with the switchover to digital television, which has happened in a fragmented fashion across Europe. “Too often we don’t have one Europe, a single market. We have been advocating a single European approach to switchover for years.”
Governments need to set a regulatory framework for accessibility, McGann said, but “we don’t want 27 policies” – policies should be unified and co-ordinated at a European level.
Both the unified and national policies should focus on the goals of accessibility, not the specific means of attaining them, he said. “We do not recommend that individual governments go into technologies or try to choose a technological winner, that would fail. [But] now more than ever, governments have an obligation to show leadership in this domain.”
On the other hand, there were positive signs, McGann said. With digital TV, for example, once the policy side becomes more co-ordinated, the technology itself “will be much more accessible than analogue ever was.”