27 May, 2016

ETNO ThinkDigital blog: Member States go pro-innovation and pro-investment

​At ETNO, we are very positive on the developments following the Digital Single Market Strategy. As I write, the European Commission is advancing their reform of the Telecoms Framework and has launched initiatives to review the ePrivacy directive.

In this context, we observe many stakeholders taking position and – this week – a group of Member States wrote a letter to fellow ministers to underline the importance of completing the Digital Single Market. At the same time, French Minister Axelle Lemaire, also stressed the importance of stepping up the ambition when reviewing Europe’s telecoms and digital laws.

I believe that Member States’ discussions indicate an increasing consensus around the urgent need of reforming our current set of rules and policies. The Member States’ letter, in particular, stresses that the aim is achieving a “simple, transparent and stable regulatory environment”. This is very important to all of us, because in the coming years the telecom industry will have to deliver massive broadband investments as well as new, innovative services. This was also echoed by Lemaire, who underlined how “network investment should constitute a priority”.

The industry buzz, today, is all about 5G. 5G is expected to be much more than just another generation of mobile. It will rather be a new way of thinking broadband networks. Super-connectivity will be widespread and networks will be able to empower a wide range of different services: from enhanced broadband to smart transport, from high quality video to the Internet of Things.

Digital will be all in the future, this is why it is so important to get today’s reforms right. In this context, I am particularly happy to see how the signatories of the Member States’ letter stressed the need for a “coherent and technology neutral data protection regime without overlapping regulation”. As telcos, we often suffer from restrictions to our ability to innovate due to sector-specific regulation. And the review of the ePrivacy directive, clearly mentioned in the letter, will be crucial to unleash our innovative potential. This means we could be soon able to offer new, innovative services and provide consumers with even more choice.

In addition to this, the single most important part of the Member States’ letter is possibly the reference to “ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband”. On this aspect, there is consensus that a spike in network investment will be needed in the coming years. Networks imply a lot of digging and building: it is a capital-intensive business. That is why we are glad to read that also this important group of member states agrees the regulatory framework should be adapted “to better spur investments in high-speed broadband”. And that this is not in contradiction with “competitive prices”.

ETNO will continue contributing to the Policy Debate in the coming months. We truly believe that the European Commission has a unique, once-in-a-decade opportunity to simplify and streamline regulation, which can turn into a boost to Europe’s digital economy and major benefits for European citizens.

If you want to learn more about our views, check our vision for a digital Union or get an in-depth insight with our recent Policy Paper on the Framework review.

By Lise Fuhr for ETNO #ThinkDigital, 27 May 2016


Lise Fuhr, Director General, ETNO

Lise is ETNO’s Director General. Prior to that, she was Chief Operating Officer of DK Hostmaster and DIFO, the company managing the .dk domain name. In the period between September 2014 and December 2015 she also chaired the Cross Community Working Group for the IANA Stewardship Transition, building on her strong network within the internet community. She has recently been appointed to the Internet Society Public Interest Registry Board of Directors for a three year term starting in July 2016.

Lise has 10+ years of experience in the telecoms industry. She started her career at the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (1996-2000), where she wrote and implemented regulation for the telecommunication markets. After that, she worked for the telecoms operator Telia Networks (2000-2009), where she led various teams dealing with issues as diverse as interconnection agreements, mobile services and industry cooperation.

Lise is a Danish national.

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