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Orange made a bold pledge to the future of Europe's "digital economy" yesterday, promising to bring 4G / LTE networks to all EU markets by the year 2015, and reaffirming its commitment to Africa and the Middle East. The France-based carrier outlined its plan during an event in Brussels, where CEO Stéphane Richard and European Commission digital chief Neelie Kroes met to discuss the Commission's "Digital Agenda for Europe." Orange laid out ten commitments in total, including a promise to make FTTH available for 15 million households and 80 percent of all businesses in France by the year 2020. It also vowed to bring 3 million NFC-enabled handsets to the EU this year, and 10 million by the year 2013. Perhaps most salient to Kroes' agenda was Orange's promise to offer customers a privacy "dashboard" by the year 2015, allowing them to more directly control their personal data. In Africa and the Middle East, meanwhile, the company is looking to roll out its 3G network by the year 2015, in the hopes of providing 80 percent of the population with mobile services. For more promises and optimism, check out the full PR after the break.
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Orange presents its "10 commitments" in Brussels, contributing to Europe's Digital Agenda

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of France Telecom-Orange, and Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, will meet in Brussels during the evening of March 20 at an "event" organized by Orange, an operator present in ten European countries. This open meeting, which is expected to bring together over 350 representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament as well as various industry bodies and think tanks, illustrates the willingness of Orange to engage in constructive and lasting dialogue with the European authorities.

During this event, Stéphane Richard will present 10 commitments in key areas of the digital economy. These formalize the Group's engagement with the European Commission and its commitment to the "Digital Agenda for Europe", and underline its desire to promote growth and job creation.

The event will also provide an opportunity to discuss the main challenges currently facing the telecoms industry, to identify potential areas for cooperation between the European Commission and Orange, and to clarify their expectations of each other.

Orange's 10 commitments cover the following areas:

Fast communications
§ ultrafast mobile broadband: roll out 4G/LTE networks in all Orange European Union markets by 2015.
§ NGA-Fibre: make fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) available to 15 million households and 80% of businesses by 2020 in France; and participate in the roll-out of very-high speed broadband in our European markets.

Rich services
§ cloud computing: in addition to consumer cloud services, offer all companies in the European Union high quality and secure access to services from green data centres located in Europe; and ensure our customers retain full ownership of their data files at all times and can easily secure their return (reversibility).
§ contactless & secure mobile payments: provide 3 million SIM-based NFC devices to our European Union customers in 2012, 10 million in 2013.
§ enriched interpersonal communication: launch Rich Communication Suite (RCS) services in 5 European countries in 2013 and provide 20 million RCS phones in 15 countries by 2015, enabling seamless and pan-European services.
§ eHealth: provide to one third of EU hospitals - and 20% of citizens - digitised health services (e.g. medical imagery, chronic disease management, prevention and wellness, secure medical data management).

Responsible behaviour
§ privacy: offer Orange customers the right to master, monitor and manage the personal information that they provide on Orange platforms for all Orange-managed services; and equip them with a personal data "dashboard" by 2015.
§ development: roll out 3G by 2015 in all African and Middle-East countries where Orange operates; offer mobile coverage to over 80% of the population in this region.
§ gender equality: increase from 23 to 35% the proportion of women among the Group's top management by 2015, thus matching their presence in the overall workforce.
§ energy efficiency: decrease Orange's CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared to 2006 levels).