Encouraging the deployment of high speed broadband networks is essential to ensure the success of the Digital Agenda for Europe

Date

28 May 2010

Sections

InfoSociety

Brussels – ETNO, whose members represent leading investors in tomorrow’s infrastructure and services, calls on EU telecommunications ministers to address the lack of private investment in the sector as the key condition for meeting the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe and for European citizens to fully benefit from high speed broadband.  

“ETNO welcomes the Digital Agenda for Europe policy programme for achieving sustainable and smart growth,” says Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.

“ETNO, however, is concerned that declining revenue and investment in the EU telecoms sector[1] make the deployment of next generation access networks (NGA) even more risky and challenging. ETNO therefore calls on telecoms ministers to avoid establishing regulatory conditions that create additional hurdles for investment” added Bartholomew.

The forthcoming Commission Recommendation on NGA is a unique opportunity to unlock large scale investments which so far remain limited in Europe, when compared to the United States and Asia, as highlighted by the latest EC Implementation Report.

For the NGA Recommendation to reinforce incentives for private investments, it should allow for:

-          a more targeted regulatory approach taking into account varying competitive situations within different geographic areas in a member state;

-          symmetric obligations on the ‘bottleneck facilities’, such as ducts or in-building wiring, of all NGA investors, ensuring a level playing field;

-          more flexibility in pricing access to networks, as well as mechanisms for investors and access seekers to share the risks of NGA roll-out.

ETNO also applauds the Digital Agenda’s goal of enhancing the single European market for online content, namely by simplifying the content licensing systems and allowing for cross-border licensing regimes. Facilitating access to legitimate attractive online content is the best way to fight against illicit file-sharing.

In view of initial discussions at the Council level on Universal Service Directive, ETNO calls for an in-depth review of the universal service regime, taking into account the unrivaled consumer choice delivered by market forces.

“ETNO members share the goal of ‘Broadband for all’ and contribute to it by deploying fixed and mobile broadband networks throughout Europe. Where broadband coverage cannot be achieved on a commercial basis, EU and national policy instruments and public financing would be more appropriate to achieve this objective than the universal service regime”, concluded Bartholomew.

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Communications Manager Tel:    (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax:  (32-2) 219 64 12 E-mail: dieu@etno.be

ETNO’s 41 member companies from 35 European countries represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than 250 billion Euros and employ over one million people across Europe. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe. 

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