27 September, 2016
Investment incentives and innovation-centric rules to achieve an inclusive gigabit Europe
Advanced broadband networks and digital services are the key to unlock inclusive opportunities for all Europeans. This, as stated in the European Commission Communication “Towards a European Gigabit Society”, is a shared European objective, which we support and endorse. Increased innovation and broadband investment are the prime tool to achieve such objective and our companies are already working towards this goal.
As CEOs of Europe’s top telecommunication companies, we believe that the EU should be a world leader in digital ensuring that all Europeans can tap into the digital opportunity. We are already transforming our society by creating a new digital Union, with fresh streams of welfare and wealth for all citizens.
While we expect consumer demand, technology and markets to be the main drivers of change, policymakers and legislators have a critical role to play: help facilitate the actual roll-out and take-up of networks and services. As part of this, the upcoming legislative work on the Directive establishing a “European Electronic Communications Code” will prove crucial.
We call upon the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to drive the debate by setting two main objectives:
Ensure inclusive broadband investment to benefit consumers
We need to provide all European regions with advanced telecommunication networks. Market-led choices on investment and technologies are the best way to ensure that no European territory is left behind and that all citizens can tap into digital opportunities as soon as possible. To this end, there is room for further improving the current proposal.
Individual or collective investments in the most powerful networks, including FTTH, FTTC, G.fast, cable and mobile wireless, will contribute to deliver faster internet speeds to consumers across Europe and accelerate 5G deployment. For this reason, roll-out incentives need to be as inclusive as possible and capture the widest range of technologies and investment models, bringing benefits to citizens more widely and more quickly.
In this context, we also support and encourage concrete and credible results on spectrum policy reform.
This review is a unique opportunity to unleash the potential of telecom markets: the final legislative text should result into a concrete and significant reduction of red tape and regulatory burden on network investment.
Achieve an innovation-centric framework
Simple, predictable and consistent rules for communication services are vital to ensure that Europe fully unleashes its innovative potential, thus creating better services for consumers and new streams of economic growth.
Legislators have an opportunity to do so by further simplifying sector-specific regulation in the Electronic Communications Code and with the review of the e-Privacy Directive. All unnecessary regulation should be removed and rules should be made clear, consistent and meaningful for consumers. This would also grant, at the same time, that all digital players compete on an equal footing. Only in this way we can create more space for innovation and provide new, innovative services for consumers.
The telecoms industry is in intense dialogue with a wide range of actors to make sure that both the gigabit vision and the 5G revolution bring benefits to as many sectors of the society as possible. The EU has put forward a strong vision and important reform plans. We now need to ensure that they are improved in the legislative process and that they send a clear-cut, unequivocal signal to both global partners and investors that Europe is on track towards positive reform.
Mr Eelco Blok
Chairman of the Board of Management and CEO, KPN
Mr Sigve Brekke
President and CEO, Telenor Group
Mr Johan Dennelind
President and CEO, Telia Company
Mr Paul Doany
CEO, Turk Telekom
Mr Timotheus Höttges
CEO, Deutsche Telekom
Ms Dominique Leroy
Mr Paulo Neves
CEO, PT Portugal
Mr José María Alvarez Pallete
Chairman and CEO, Telefónica
Mr Gavin Patterson,
CEO, BT Group
Mr Alejandro Plater
CEO, Telekom Austria Group
Mr Stéphane Richard
Chairman and CEO, Orange
Mr Giuseppe Recchi,
Executive Chairman, Telecom Italia