06 May, 2015

Press Release: ETNO welcomes the Digital Single Market Strategy and asks for swift and concrete actions

ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, has today welcomed the new Digital Single Market plans.

With this Strategy paper, the European Commission sends a signal that network deployment and investment will be prioritised in future policy action. In addition to this, it recognises that European markets suffer from under-investment, as well as a lack of regulatory predictability and consistency.

If we are to ensure that Europe leads the digital race, swift and urgent action is needed as a follow-up to the Strategy paper and ahead of the broader review of telecom rules, currently planned for 2016. The main drivers of such swift action should be further harmonisation as well as the removal of barriers to investing in network deployment.

Steven Tas, Executive Chairman of ETNO, said: “European citizens and businesses demand a rapid transition to superfast networks. Swift actions on current rules and a profound review of the current telecoms framework are the pre-requisite to building Europe’s new digital backbone. Telecom executives are ready to invest more in Europe: concrete and speedy measures are a critical factor”.

New market dynamics: A change to yesterday’s rules is needed

The Digital Single Market Strategy indicates that European policymakers recognise the dramatic market changes and their implications for citizens and industry. Increased competition from cable companies and from edge providers should encourage a pro-investment review of the current Telecoms framework, and more in particular in the fixed access domain.

At the same time, as consumers increasingly move towards heavy use of online communication services and applications, an urgent reflection on regulatory asymmetries is needed. Levelling the playing field in areas such as consumer protection and privacy, for example, will increase transparency and clarity for consumers and create a fair competitive environment for companies.

Spectrum is the gateway to a real Digital Single Market

Our shared goal of one single EU digital market is intimately linked to concrete achievements in the area of spectrum harmonisation. As mobile broadband deployment becomes strategic for competitiveness and for empowering people’s lives, we support EU decision-makers – in Brussels and in the capitals – in urgently advancing a common understanding on spectrum.

Investment in mobile networks should be facilitated by a coherent regulatory landscape, which allows access to all the spectrum needed, appropriate returns and timely deployment. To this end, we also encourage strategic proposals regarding the coordinated release of the 700 MHz band for wireless broadband services.

Timing and ambition are of essence

Digital markets move fast: many of the dynamics recognised in today’s strategy paper started to affect consumer behaviour and business models at the beginning of the new century already. While proper consultation and assessment are fundamental, Europe cannot afford further delays to stimulating broadband deployment. Speedboat measures should be considered ahead of the broader review.

High levels of ambition, supported by a thorough analysis, will put Europe at the edge, as policymakers and regulators worldwide try to re-define governance and rules in light of the digital revolution.


ETNO's contribution to the Digital Single Market Strategy can be downloaded here.

For further information, please contact Alessandro Gropelli, Head of communications and media, gropelli@etno.eu, +32 476 941839

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