Review of EU Telecoms Rules: Improved rules on investment risk must swiftly translate into more flexible regulation for NGA

Date

22 Apr 2009

Sections

InfoSociety

BRUSSELS – ETNO welcomes the inclusion in the revised directives of new mechanisms to improve incentives for investment in next generation access networks, following a vote on 21 April of the EP Industry Committee on the review of the telecoms package. However, ETNO regrets the inclusion of a new remedy of functional separation. ETNO congratulates the Presidency and the EP rapporteurs for having achieved an agreement on most aspects and call on
them to find a compromise on the remaining issue of amendment 46 (formerly 138), which fully respects citizens’ fundamental rights.

“It is positive that next generation access networks and the risky investment they entail have been placed high up in the review debate in particular by the European Parliament although they were not addressed in the initial Commission proposals. There is now a wide recognition among
stakeholders of the need to accelerate NGA deployment and adapt the current regulation to meet this challenge”, says ETNO Director, Michael Bartholomew.

Next generation access networks are not only essential for consumers and businesses to benefit from tomorrow’s broadband services. NGAs will directly contribute to help Europe recover from the current economic crisis, by creating new jobs and generating additional GDP growth. NGA
deployment, in which Europe is already lagging behind by comparison to the US and Asia, entails very risky investment estimated at up to 300 billion €.

“ETNO welcomes that the revised directives recognise the need for new mechanisms to better share investment risk and improve investment incentives through long-term regulatory certainty, while maintaining lively competition. These new rules should now be fully implemented and further strengthened in the European Commission’s forthcoming NGA Recommendation and NRAs’ regulatory practice”, added Bartholomew.

The revised directives enable for instance the conclusion of long-term risk sharing agreements. The directives also underline NRAs’ task to provide more planning certainty to investors and adapt regulation to different geographic areas within a national territory, depending on the
competitive reality.

ETNO regrets the inclusion of ‘functional separation’ in the list of remedies. Such a costly and far reaching remedy in the package is not appropriate in today’s dynamic and highly competitive markets in Europe. In the context of the current economic downturn, mandatory functiona separation should be considered even more cautiously as it would further increase regulatory
uncertainty and complexity and negatively impact on the much needed network investment.

On the remaining issue of amendment 46/ 138, ETNO welcomes the strong EP support to the principle that e-communications providers should not be asked to take any measure against a consumer outside of a Court order. ETNO calls on the EU institutions to find a compromise based
on this essential principle in full respect of citizens’ fundamental rights.

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 42 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 andare committed to its continual growth in Europe.