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Telecoms Package: Creating the right conditions for risky NGA investment must be the priority

Date

09 Jun 2009

EU Telecoms Council Luxembourg, 11 June

Telecoms Package: Creating the right conditions for risky NGA investment must be the priority

BRUSSELS – ETNO calls on parties not to create further uncertainty by reopening other
elements of the Review and to ensure that the ongoing debate and likely conciliation process on
the Review of the EU Telecoms Package focuses on the only outstanding issue: amendment 46/138 (Internet users’ rights).

“The lack of final agreement on the telecoms package adds uncertainty to a sector which is widely recognised as a key driver of the economic recovery. ETNO calls on EU policy makers not to create additional uncertainty for investors by reopening other elements of the package which
result from a difficult compromise between institutions”, says Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director, on the eve of the EU Telecoms Council.

For ETNO member companies, which represent Europe’s main investors in tomorrow’s services and networks, the main priority throughout the Review process has been to create the appropriate conditions for risky investment in next generation access networks (NGA) to take place.

The roll out of next generation access networks is essential for Europe’s economic recovery.

NGA, which entail overall investment of €300 billion, could generate up to two million new jobs and add €900 billion to GDP growth.

ETNO regrets that the opportunity of the Review has not been fully seized to further define a more ambitious strategy for NGA deployment in Europe and to achieve the transition of the sector to general competition rules. ETNO welcomes, however, the inclusion in the package of
mechanisms that have the potential to lead to a more targeted regulatory approach and improve incentives for risky investments.

Provisions in the revised directives which enable NRAs to focus regulatory intervention on those areas where infrastructure-based competition is unlikely to emerge or to allow operators to negotiate longer term agreements in order to share risks, must now be translated into regulatory practice and fully reflected in the forthcoming EC recommendation on NGA.

“ETNO calls on EU member states to ensure that the forthcoming EC recommendation on the regulation of next generation access networks fully exploits the potential of improved incentives for investment and not simply extends rules defined for old copper networks to a new
environment”, adds Bartholomew.

The addition in the list of remedies of such a far reaching and complex one as functional separation – without clear evidence of its benefits - is not appropriate to today’s highly competitive markets and sends a wrong signal to investors.

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 and are committed to its continual growth in Europe.

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