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2010 General Assembly of European Telecommunications Network Operators Trust and confidence is essential for consumers to embrace broadband and for the success of the Digital Agenda


22 Oct 2010



Prague, Czech Republic – Leading European telecoms operators called today for a global level playing field for all actors processing personal data order to build uniform expectations and experiences online and to increase citizens confidence in using e-services. ETNO’s 41 members gathered today for their 37 th General Assembly chaired by Telefonica O2 Czech Republic. Members also elected Luigi Gambardella, Telecom Italia, as new Chairman of ETNO Executive Board and adopted a major strategic plan to strengthen the association.
Through next generation access networks, consumers will increasingly access services such as collaborative working, legitimate online content sharing platforms and e-health applications. Protection of personal data is one of the key prerequisites for EU citizens to embrace innovative services and participate fully in the digital economy.
The forthcoming review of the EU Data Protection Directive should ensure that the same rules on data protection apply to all players in the value chain offering online services to EU citizens. Such a global level playing field is essential to increase consumers’ confidence in the usage of online services. Guaranteeing the protection of personal data will play a major role in ensuring that more users embrace broadband and shop online in line with the key objectives of the Digital Agenda.
Data protection requirements should reflect innovation and the emergence of new business models. With the development of services such as cloud computing, which involve several data controllers, international transfer of data rules should be made easier, especially for transfer of data within a same company group. Some excessive administrative burdens on industry without real benefits for the users, such as lengthy notification procedures, should be removed. Education and awareness raising are also key. Transparency, user control, information, choice and informed consent should be the main elements of a user-centric privacy framework.
Other highlights of the 2010 ETNO General Assembly:
To meet the targets of the Digital Agenda, ETNO members reiterated their call on regulators to apply a more proportionate and targeted regulatory approach to next generation access networks, taking into account the high risk investments they entail.
ETNO members also recalled the importance of the digital dividend for bridging the digital  divide and called on the Parliament and the member states to support the Commission proposal for an allocation of the 800 MHz band to mobile services throughout Europe as of 2013 and for increasing harmonisation in spectrum usage.
Portugal Telecom, Telefonica, Telekom Austria, TeliaSonera were re-elected as members of the ETNO Executive Board.
Luigi Gambardella, Telecom Italia, was elected by the ETNO General Assembly as the new Chairman of the ETNO Executive Board, succeeding Antonio Robalo de Almeida, Portugal Telecom.
"I am very honoured to serve as ETNO Board Chairman for 2011. I would like to thank all the ETNO members for the trust they have demonstrated, and I will do my best to contribute to the achievement of ETNO objectives,” said Luigi Gambardella, Vice-President for European Institutions and International Organisations, Telecom Italia.
"Our sector is facing many challenges. However the most relevant one in the medium term is to ensure that the Internet eco-system can continue to grow to the benefit of all stakeholders. We as European industry cannot ignore the need to assess the sustainability of the current Internet economic model and must lead the collective effort to find solutions for meeting the ever increasing traffic demand – mostly driven by video applications – and for ensuring that new innovative services and business models can emerge,” added Gambardella.
The ETNO General Assembly has also approved a major plan to strengthen the association which will include a repositioning around seven main working groups, reflecting the forthcoming challenges for the sector and the main areas of the Digital Agenda: Competitive Markets, Digital Society, Research and Innovation, Corporate Responsibility, Digital Single Market, Data Protection, Trust and Security and, Spectrum.
ETNO also signed a memorandum of understanding with the SAMENA Telecommunications Council, which groups telecoms operators and vendors in the Middle East region to foster cooperation and share information.
The General Assembly Chairmanship for 2011 was handed over to Robert Erzin, Director, Network and Infrastructure Department, Telekom Slovenije.
For more information, please consult or contact Thierry Dieu, ETNO Communications Manager ( or 32 2 227 10 82);
ETNO has been the leading voice of European Telecommunications Network Operators since 1992. ETNO’s 41 member companies from 35 European countries represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than €250 billion, employ up to one million people across Europe and account for 70% of total sector investment.