23 February, 2023

ETNO welcomes the EU Consultation and the Connectivity Package

Brussels, 23 February 2023 – ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, welcomes the European Commission’s work to speed up roll-out of 5G and fibre networks.

This work is urgent. The EU is currently at risk of missing its “gigabit for all” target, with around 45 million citizens who may still not be reached by VHCN (Very High Capacity Networks) in 2030, according to the latest estimates.

Public consultation on the future of the sector

This consultation is a positive and urgent step towards addressing major imbalances in the Internet ecosystem to the benefit of European end-users. The future of telecoms is relevant well beyond our sector alone, as most parts of the European economy and society have a strategic interest in a faster, deeper, greener and innovation-oriented roll-out of 5G and fibre networks.

This consultation also helpfully tackles a series of essential questions on how EU policy and regulation interacts with future trends in technology, use of networks and services, return on investment and market structure.

We support this urgent process, which should lead to the timely adoption of European legislation aimed at speeding up the achievement of the EU Digital Decade targets.

Gigabit Infrastructure Act

We commend the Commission for proposing a set of harmonized and effective rules to reduce red tape and hurdles to network deployment. This proposal goes in the right direction, as it aims at addressing the current bureaucratic barriers and high costs encountered when deploying VHCN.

We stand ready to support the European Parliament and Member States in the Council as they review the text. A timely approval of this text can truly contribute to accelerating roll-out in the short term.

Recommendation on Gigabit connectivity

Regulation for the fibre era must be fundamentally different from the one devised for the copper era. This Recommendation constitutes an urgent component in improving the investment climate for network roll-out in the short-term.

In our view, the current draft still excessively relies on disproportionate regulatory intervention, as opposed to much needed incentives and cost recovery reflecting the business risk of network deployment.

The current text would require improvements and it should provide a clearer practical guidance on deregulatory measures for national regulators. We need to move towards a concrete recognition of the role of commercial agreements and symmetric regulation.

© ETNO 2024
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