04 March, 2015
Press Release: Strengthening EU’s digital economy: We need a positive conclusion to the Connected Continent debate
ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, recognises the efforts made by the Latvian Presidency of the EU in achieving a more balanced position on Open Internet and roaming, over one year since the start of the legislative procedure on the “Connected Continent Regulation” (the Regulation).
From an innovation and investment perspective, a series of critical aspects remain in both the proposed text and in the scope of the Regulation in its current format. Such elements should, in our view, be taken into account by the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament when discussing the final text of the Regulation.
ETNO Chairman Steven Tas said: “Fostering the innovative and investment potential of the telecom sector is instrumental to achieving a more prosperous Europe. We should not forget the objective of the original Commission proposal, which was to support growth and job creation. A Regulation foreclosing new business models and weakening revenues isn’t in anybody’s interest”.
Scope of the Regulation and spectrum measures
The scope of the Regulation, as proposed by the Council, would entail measures on the Open Internet and on roaming only. In our view, the original objectives of the Commission proposal cannot be achieved without the parts on spectrum harmonisation.
Open Internet Rules
The core business of our companies is to empower consumers via ubiquitous access to content, services and offers of their choice. For this reason, ETNO and its companies are in favour of an Open Internet and support a harmonised, principle-based approach aimed at avoiding a patchwork of national laws.
Any future regulation must recognise how networks function: We need balanced rules on traffic management as well as measures that allow the development of specialised services and innovative offers.
Only in this way can we ensure high quality user experience, provide consumers with innovative services and make sure that no economic actor is prevented from developing new business models.
Since the approval of the third Roaming Regulation in 2012 and the various proposals around the Connected Continent Regulation, ETNO has regularly called for regulatory certainty and consistency.
With this in mind, we encourage the European Institutions to ensure that final roaming rules do not lead to an unintended disruption of national markets or increased regulatory uncertainty.
More ambitious reforms needed urgently
As the debate on the Regulation approaches its final stage, ETNO believes there is an even stronger sense of urgency to reforming the current set of digital policies and regulation. Speedboat measures should be considered in this context: we need to do more, and faster, to remove barriers to investment. We must not miss the momentum of achieving a stronger digital Europe.