ETNO 6th Annual Conference – Brussels, 12 November

Date

12 Nov 2008

Sections

InfoSociety

ETNO 6th Annual Conference – Brussels, 12 November

Deploying high speed broadband networks in Europe requires forward looking vision and commitment of all players

BRUSSELS – In the context of the current financial crisis and global economic downturn, next generation access networks must be the key priority to stimulate

growth and help Europe overcome the crisis, said ETNO today at its 6th Annual Conference entitled “Looking Ahead: Achieving long term sustainable competition

 in the EU telecoms sector”.

“Reduced investment in the EU telecoms sector  clearly shows that the current regulatory approach does not provide enough incentives for investment”,

said Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director. “It is essential in this context that the upcoming EU Telecoms Council focuses on how to encourage risky investment

in next generation networks by all players and endorse the concrete measures proposed by the EP”, added Bartholomew.

More than 250 experts from the e-communications industry, the EU institutions, national regulators and member states gathered for ETNO’s annual conference

 mainly devoted to the ongoing Review of the EU regulatory framework and the next generation access networks. Catherine Trautmann, MEP, presented the EP position while Emmanuel Gabla, French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment on behalf of the EU French Presidency gave an update on the Council position. Fabio Colasanti, Director General of DG Information Society presented the Commission view.

Broadband uptake in Europe is driven by consumer demand for increasingly interactive innovative broadband-based solutions which lead to rapidly growing data

traffic and require much higher bandwidth and speed than currently available. In this context, the deployment of high speed broadband access networks is

essential for consumers to benefit from new services and for Europe to reinforce its competitiveness. The challenge of rolling out the next generation

networks in Europe – estimated to cost up to 300 billion € - requires a commitment by all players.

On the eve of the EU Telecoms Council, ETNO recalls that the current rules were defined for old access networks based on copper. These rules cannot

ystematically be extended to new networks which are built in a competitive environment and entail highly risky investment.

ETNO calls for a more appropriate regulatory approach for next generation access networks focusing on areas where infrastructure-based competition is

not feasible. When it should apply, access regulation should allow for a fair risk sharing between investors and access seekers as proposed by the European

Parliament, for instance through long term commitment on the rental of a minimum of lines.

“ETNO is not opposed to any form of regulation and certainly not against competition. This is a misinterpretation of our position which is used to justify

new and far reaching regulatory initiatives. What ETNO is calling for is better targeted regulation and the inclusion of mechanisms allowing for a fair

sharing of risks”, added Bartholomew.

For more information about the programme, please consult: www.etnoconference2008.eu

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 43 member companies from 36 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.