European Commission releases findings of study into availability and robustness of electronic communication networks.

The European Commission has released the findings of a study conducted by Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and professional services organisations on the availability and robustness of electronic communication networks.

"Without communications networks and services," the report states, "public welfare is endangered, economic stability is susceptible, other critical sectors are exposed, and countless other direct and indirect misfortunes will avoidably occur."

The study provides insights into the availability and security provisioning of electronic communication networks and makes ten key recommendations designed to enhance their protection and resilience.

The recommendations relate to the following areas:

Emergency preparedness
Priority communications on public networks
Formal mutual aid agreements
Critical infrastructure information sharing
Inter-infrastructure dependencies
Supply chain integrity and trusted operation
Unified European voice in standards
Interoperability testing
Vigorous ownership of partnering health
Discretionary European expert best practices

In conclusion the report states that the "urgency" for implementation of these recommendations "is not something of Europe's choosing". It adds that Europe can not afford to:1. Be unprepared for disasters
2. Have the most mission critical communications in a crisis blocked
3. Not harness the full capability of industry to deal with emergency situations
4. Incur network impairment because information was not shared
5. Experience an infrastructure collapse from a cross-sector failure
6. Lose control of network systems or traffic
7. Have network standards not tuned to unique European needs
8. Allow "weakest link" networks to compromise the interconnected networks
9. Be guided by suboptimal policies due to stifled collaboration
10. Leave the power of its collective expertise estranged and unengaged.