ECTA Reg Conf:transition shouldn't be pretext for reversing pro-comp model of EU telecoms sector
Brussels, 18 November 2014: More than 300 policy makers, regulators, industry stakeholders and representatives of consumers will join this year’s ECTA annual conference as the new mandates of the European Commission and European Parliament have just begun. Confirming the key contribution of the digital sector to the economy, the new Institutions have placed digital issues high on the priority list, with the "Connected Digital Single Market” at the core of the Juncker Commission’s programme.
The ECTA 2014 conference will provide policy makers with food for thought on the ambitious legislative proposals and consultations planned for the next six months, aimed at completing the Connected Digital Single Market. It will foster the discussion on the EU pro-competitive model and the performance of the EU telecommunications sector, allowing for debate on many different issues such as the Connected Continent proposal, the harmonisation of wholesale access products, spectrum harmonisation, net neutrality, copyright and data protection, market structure and investments.
Tom Ruhan, Chairman of ECTA said: "The ECTA conference is a real forum for debates, and we genuinely welcome inputs from all stakeholders. With a comprehensive review of the EU telecoms framework around the corner, we’re potentially facing a turning point in legislation. If we want to see more investment in world class broadband networks we should ensure that the future rules promote effective competition and investment in both infrastructure and services, by all players. More players invest more, pushing each other to invest, innovate and charge fair prices to end-users. Competition is indeed the best driver of investments. Calls for deregulation and the reduction of competition based on allegations that the European Union is under-performing are unfounded: higher fixed and mobile speeds, lower prices for end-users and competitive pressure leading to investments in the whole economy - that’s the success of the European model we should build on and improve further.”
Erzsebet Fitori, Director of ECTA added: "We should not forget that the full coverage of basic broadband services has been achieved in Europe through a regulatory framework ensuring access to dominant operators’ networks. Thus, the transition to Next Generation Access (NGA) should not be used as pretext to justify a reversal of the EU’s pro-competitive model. Wholesale Access based-regulation remains necessary where objective economic bottlenecks remain, and is a prerequisite for competition. There is no trade-off between investments and choice for end-users. Consumer choice in Internet access services is also the best guarantee of an Open Internet.”
Vibrant competition is the way forward to generate investments for the completion of the Connected Digital Market and the delivery of better and innovative services. ECTA members are committed to join their forces and to make their contribution to reach the European Commission’s goal to generate up to 250 billion euros additional growth in Europe during the next five years, with benefits for end-users, for a knowledge based society and thus for the whole economy.
The biggest challenge of the new Institutions is to ensure that there is no return to monopolies and duopolies in the transition to NGA. Europe should not fail its citizens and businesses by giving in to dominant operators who ask for more and quicker profit on the back of consumers and protection from competition. Big operators becoming bigger will evidently not lead to more investment. Undermining competition in the telecoms sector would result in cutting jobs, growth and investments and harm the economy as a whole. Undermining competition to increase the profits and market power of only a few already dominant incumbent telcos would be unfair to citizens and businesses.
ECTA (the European Competitive Telecommunications Association - www.ectaportal.com) is the pan-European pro-competitive trade association that represents more than 100 of the leading challenger telecoms operators across Europe. For over a decade, ECTA has been supporting the regulatory and commercial interests of telecoms operators, ISPs & equipment manufacturers in pursuit of a fair regulatory environment that allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms. Our members have been the leading innovators in Internet services, broadband, business communications, entertainment and mobile.
Aurélie Bladocha, Public Affairs Manager (+32 2 478 78 61 00/ firstname.lastname@example.org).