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All European Union (EU) citizens now have the opportunity to sign up for a broadband deal, a Vice-President of the European Commission has claimed.

Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, said that, as a result of technology innovation, every European "genuinely has the opportunity" to get online.

"Thanks to the extra coverage provided by satellite broadband, we have achieved our 2013 target of broadband for all," she claimed.

Ms Kroes described this as "a great result for European citizens", but said more must be done to improve networks and "equalise the opportunity".

"The EU is technology-neutral, but for those in the most isolated areas, satellite is a good option to stay connected - and it’s likely to remain so," she stated.

But looking further ahead, Ms Kroes suggested that fixed networks must pick up the mantel.

She claimed that Europe needs "lightning-speed connectivity", otherwise some companies and citizens will be left behind.

"Now we have basic broadband achieved, we have to immediately focus on investing in new fast networks," Ms Kroes added.

“Access to reliable and affordable higher broadband speeds of 30Mb and 50Mb is essential for Europe's economic development."

She said that without widespread access to super-fast speeds, people will not be able to take advantage of the next generation of digital products, such as connected television, eHealth, cloud computing and connected cars.

Indeed, the Commission says digital services are "becoming critical" to the EU economy.

It estimates that a ten per cent increase in broadband penetration would bring about a gross domestic product rise of between 1.0 and 1.5 per cent in the trade bloc.

This is why the Commission has committed to deliver universal 30Mb broadband to all EU citizens by 2020, with 50 per cent or more households having a 100Mb subscription.

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