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EURO-TELECOMMS: THE RACE ISN’T ON AS MINISTERS FAIL TO AGREE THE BUDGET

The director of RACE co-ordinating committee and immediate past-President of the Association of European Telecommunications and Electroncis Industries, J M Price, is exasperated at the way European governments are dragging their heels on agreeing funding for his programme. He spoke out in Brussels earlier this month, declaring that the programme cannot proceed until agreement is reached on research and development community objectives for 1987-1991. RACE is important because we are in a technology race against the US and Japan. If Europe can quickly agree a common framework and standards for integrated broadband communications, then our competitive position will be strengthened by a large common European base. Unless we can get started we’ll start losing. Price insists that telecommunications is the key to success in developing a worldwide service economy, but the Council of (research) Ministers of the European Economic Community failed at their last meeting to agree on funding or even the objectives of the main programme of RACE, Research and development in Advanced Communication technologies in Europe. RACE is intended to develop a European framework for an ISDN-based integrated broadband communications network by the early 1990s. Results of the successfully-completed definition phase of RACE were handed over to director general for telecommunications in the European Commission, Michel Carpentier and the main programme was due to start this summer.

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