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Germany wants the G20 to set internet and IoT common standards

A set of standards for the internet, both technical and educational, will be pushed for by Germany while it remains president of the G20.

Germany wants to promote fast internet for all, agree common technical standards and promote lifelong digital learning, Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries has said.

Her comments follow US President Donald Trump’s signing of a bill designed to repeal Obama-era broadband privacy rules in favour of internet service providers who want to be able to sell their customers’ internet history.

The bill repeals regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Google or Facebook.

Zypries’ comments come ahead of a first meeting of G20 ministers responsible for digital policy later this week in Duesseldorf, ahead of a G20 summit chaired by Germany in July.

Germany wants the G20 to agree to a concrete plan, including rolling out fast internet across the globe by 2025.

“The message must be: we are working together to make the opportunities of the digital revolution usable for all and to regulate it through a framework of rules,” Zypries said in emailed answers to questions from Reuters.

Zypries said Germany and Europe were in a good position to take a leading role in the development of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), in which objects are connected to networks to send and receive data.

By 2020, 21 billion IoT devices will be in use worldwide, up from fewer than 5 billion last year, research firm Gartner has estimated. However, experts argue that the lack of global standards is stopping the sector reaching its full potential.

Zypries said she was not concerned that the US government will not be represented at ministerial level at the meeting in Germany, noting that the administration under new President Donald Trump was still filling hundreds of positions.

“In the end, it is not a matter of who is sitting at the table, but achieving a good and resilient result together,” she said.

Zypries reiterated her concerns about growing US protectionism, noting that US companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Apple were leaders in digital products and services.

“They export their products and services very successfully in the world, also to Germany, and are reliant on free trade. The United States also needs our machines and products to build up American industry,” she said.

In February a new ruling was approved in the House of Lords that will set the minimum broadband speeds in the UK at 10Mbit/s for all citizens.

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