Viviane Reding pitches next-gen Web vision

European Commission lays out Web 3.0 strategy

BRUSSELS -- Europe can spearhead Web 3.0, the next generation of the Internet, the European Commission said Monday as it outlined steps to take advantage of such trends as social networking, VOD and nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV.

Europe is well placed to exploit the end of the divide between mobile and fixed lines, but still needs to be vigilant in keeping the Internet open, free and competitive, EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said as she unveiled her strategy on future networks.

"Web 3.0 means seamless 'anytime, anywhere' business, entertainment and social networking over fast, reliable and secure networks," Reding said.

The commission strategy paper warns that Internet service providers could use their "traffic management" powers to slow some traffic and, in extreme cases, block it. To head this off, it suggests laws ensuring that all Internet traffic is treated fairly.

The strategy was immediately welcomed by search giant Google, which said that Europe needs an openness recipe encompassing a neutral network, users rights and open standards.

"The strategy proposes realistic, pragmatic solutions ... to promote a robust, healthy Internet," said Vint Cerf, Google vp and chief Internet evangelist.