European Competitive Telecommunications Association

To be or not to be connected? 
How to ensure affordable high speed broadband everywhere? 

Brussels, 21 March 2016: Today, the European Parliament’s Long-term Investment Intergroup organised a conference on ‘The digital revolution: How to finance network infrastructures?’ Efficient investment in high-quality, high speed infrastructures and the take-up of very high speed broadband are at the core of the discussion as very high speed connectivity is becoming indispensable to participation in a Connected Society. European regulation has a key role in ensuring that very high speed broadband is available everywhere at an affordable price to European consumers and businesses. 

The most important element to guarantee high speed Internet everywhere for everyone is competition and it is commonly agreed that the best driver of efficient network investments is effective competition. But to make this winning paradigm work in practice we need regulation that truly enables all players to invest and compete. 

Policy makers need to bear in mind that investments do not benefit end-users or the European economy per se. It is efficient investments in open and competitive, very high speed digital infrastructure that are a win-win for end-users, the European economy and investors. There should be no compromise on the key factors that benefit end-users the most: affordability, choice and innovation. 

As the last mile of broadband infrastructure is a bottleneck, competition needs to be injected through regulation. The truth is that access regulation enables challengers to make their own investment until the point of the networks which is not economically duplicable and to rent this last mile, on the other hand, access regulation is clearly not detrimental to incumbents operators, whose regulated service revenues have consistently been growing (from €19 billion in 2011 to €37 billion in 2015).
What ECTA is suggesting is to depart from the investment versus access based competition discussion since there is no credible evidence on access regulation hindering investments, to the contrary it enables competitive, access based investments. We urge a strong focus on ensuring that agile players can invest, co-invest, effectively compete and innovate and put increasing competitive pressure on the former monopolies, who are dragging their feet.  

The beauty of the digital revolution is that Europe is best placed to have it all: high speed digital infrastructure investments, affordable prices, innovation and genuine choice! But competition, the engine of progress in very high speed connectivity must not be taken for granted. If Europe loses sight of what really matters for European end-users we will end up being the digital ‘old world’ instead of world leader.

ECTA (the European Competitive Telecommunications Association) 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, Senior Public Affairs Manager (+32 478 78 61 00/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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