Date

20 Feb 2009

Sections

InfoSociety

NGAs are essential for society and economic growth and represent an
opportunity for competition
BRUSSELS – Investments in next generation access networks will benefit the entire economy and society by generating more jobs and contributing to a significant GDP growth. For the telecoms sector to play its key role as a driver of the economic recovery, high speed broadband access networks must be fully addressed during the 2nd reading process of the EU Review.
“ETNO calls on all EU institutions to put the deployment of high speed broadband networks at the top of their priorities, considering their positive impact not only for the sector but for the society and economy as whole. NGAs will lead to more innovation, more jobs and GDP growth, helping Europe to overcome the current crisis. A clear strategy to accelerate their deployment is urgently needed”, says Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.
Encouraging private investment in high speed broadband networks needed across Europe is one of the key priorities of the EU Recovery Plan. Against the background of the current crisis, regulatory certainty and the right incentives for NGN investment (estimated at 300 billion €) are even more crucial, taking into consideration the high risks linked to uncertainty of demand.
Current trends in the deployment of high speed broadband networks show that existing rules defined for legacy networks do not encourage large scale investment. With about 1.7 million subscribers – concentrated in a few member states - compared to 3.5 in the US and more than 20 million in Asia1, Europe is lagging behind in the roll out of new high speed networks.
So far, the few fibre subscribers in Europe are connecting mainly through alternative operators. This demonstrates that the transition towards next generation access networks has the potential to lead to more sustainable infrastructure-based competition and create more choice for consumers, provided that a better targeted regulatory approach is put in place that encourages all players to
invest and participate in the risk linked to the investment.
“Reinforcing investment incentives in NGN and maintaining strong competition on the markets are complementary objectives, ultimately for the benefit of consumers. Incentives for risky investments can be improved for example by allowing operators, under the supervision of regulators, to negotiate access agreements over high quantities of an access product or for a longer period. In return, the operators concluding such long-term agreements would receive better conditions for network access”, added 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 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.