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A step forward for Net Neutrality in Europe

OFE Statement - Brussels - 4th April 2014 - OpenForum Europe welcomes the historic vote on the new telecom package that took place in the European Parliament on April 3rd and congratulates MEPs and the Commission for their efforts to safeguard the Open Internet in Europe. In an unusually short period of 6 months, this initial phase of the legislative process managed to deliver a solid basis for the Council of the EU to work on. We have explained before why we believe that iron-clad guarantees for net neutrality are needed to ensure continued innovation and fair, open competition in the online ecosystem. The Internet is an enormous engine for growth and access to knowledge, and key to its success has always been the possibility for anyone, anywhere to freely create and share content with every other user on the network.
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OFE Adds its Comments to UK Government Standards Hub Proposals on Document Formats

Basil_MelOFE Statement - London - 28th February 2014 - The Comment cycle for the UK Government's Proposals on Document Formats have created a level of interest unseen in our industry for many years. Indeed, probably not since the original controversies when 'OOXML' was put to the vote in ISO – an exercise for which the administrators involved must now look back with deep embarrassment. So why is it that a seemingly 'dry' topic like Document Formats have fired up so many interested citizens and industry suppliers? To understand you need firstly to recognise the importance of the Open Standards Principles previously committed by the Government, with support from the very top. Those have been acclaimed worldwide, because they are seen as an essential step towards providing a level playing field for all suppliers, covering all business models, allowing all technologies, and particularly encouraging competition from SMEs. The current focus and progress on 'digital by default' and use of agile development would simply not be possible without open standards. But of course the biggest win is to break out from the lock-in to single supplier solutions, probably the most costly and single biggest inhibitor to competition and innovation in public sector IT for the last decade.

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OFE Press Release - Brussels - 1st April 2014 ‐ The online communications industry, consumer protection and civil rights NGOs want to preserve the open internet. We are gravely concerned about loopholes in the Commission and Industry Committee texts that would allow parts of the telecommunications industry to become gatekeepers that decide what succeeds and what fails online. Even national regulators (through BEREC, the Body of European Regulators) have expressed a fear that the Commission's proposals seek to re--‐shape the market in favour of large ex--‐ monopoly telecoms operators.

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Time for the European Institutions to show their support for open standards

OFE Press Release - Brussels - 26th March 2014 - Throughout the world today, individuals and organisations are celebrating Document Freedom Day. The goal of this annual event is to raise public awareness on information accessibility and the use of open standards.

We believe that public administrations have a key role to play in this regard, in at least two important ways. First by ensuring that every citizen and stakeholder group can interact with its public administration using the software of its choice, without having to worry about compatibility or portability across different platforms. Second, by ensuring efficient use of public money and fostering competition through innovation in the market. Overall, public procurement represents around 19% of the EU GDP. Only by supporting open standards can public administrations avoid vendor lock-in which increases prices and reduces competition in the market.

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Letter to Vilella - Use of document and video formats in the EU Institutions


OFE welcomes the European Cloud Partnership “Trusted Cloud Europe” vision document

OFE Press Release - Brussels - 21st March 2014 - Today's European Cloud Partnership Steering Board announcement on Trusted Cloud for Europe (TCE) is to be welcomed. TCE is a tangible and important move to develop a higher level framework within which the recommendations from the Commission's Cloud Specific Interest Groups will be positioned. It is right that industry is very closely involved here to ensure that the opportunity in Europe resulting from Cloud based services is maximised.

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OpenForum Academy is an independent programme established by OpenForum Europe. It has created a link with academia in order to provide new input and insight into the key issues which impact the openness of the IT market.


Discriminatory practices continue to plague IT public procurement across Europe


For the fifth consecutive year, OpenForum Europe publishes a report on the EU Member States' practice of referring to specific trademarks when procuring computer software packages and information systems.

We found that almost 1 in 5 notices included technical specifications containg explicit references to trademarks.

These results clearly show that there is an entrenched and continuing EU-wide level of discrimination in the purchase of IT supplies. More than ever, there is urgent need for more transparent, open and fair EU and national procurement practices.

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In the UK OFE submits written evidence to Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) inquiry on Public Procurement.

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