Date

30 Mar 2009

Sections

InfoSociety

Press release

ETNO urges EU Telecoms Ministers to fully exploit the potential of the telecoms sector to accelerate the economic recovery

BRUSSELS – Up to two million new jobs could be created and 900 billion ? added to EU GDP thanks to the deployment of next generation high speed broadband networks. The potential of the EU telecoms sector in helping Europe overcome the crisis must be fully exploited, said ETNO in a letter to telecoms ministers on the eve of the EU Telecoms Council to be partly devoted to the impact of the crisis on the sector.

“The crisis must also be seen as an opportunity to accelerate the deployment of high speed broadband networks and allow Europe to fully reap the benefits in terms of economic growth, jobs and social welfare”, says ETNO Director Michael Bartholomew.

Already before the crisis, Europe was severely lagging behind the USA and Asia in next generation network deployment. In 2008, Europe’s telecoms sector reached its lowest revenue and investment growth rate since 2003, confirming a continuous slowing down over the past five years.

Although the telecoms sector is better armed to resist, the economic crisis could have an impact on the roll out of the next generation access networks which entail highly risky investment estimated at up to 300 billion ?.

“In the current context, more than ever, Europe cannot afford any further delay in the NGA deployment. As the Review of the EU telecoms rules enters now in its final phase, it is essential that NGN investments are fully addressed while maintaining today’s lively competition”, added Bartholomew.

ETNO calls on EU policy makers to create the most appropriate conditions for private players to deploy next generation access networks and focus the use of public funds to those cases where market-driven investment is not viable.

In line with the recent conclusions of the European Council, ETNO calls on EU telecoms ministers to ensure that the revised telecoms package includes measures to strengthen incentives for investment and enable a fair distribution of risks. ETNO believes that improving investment conditions and safeguarding competition are totally compatible and complementary objectives.

ETNO also welcomes the European Council’s call on the Commission to develop a broadband strategy by the end of 2009 with other stakeholders. ETNO is ready to contribute to any initiative to accelerate Europe’s transformation into a high-speed broadband economy for the full benefit of EU citizens and businesses.

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