European Competitive Telecommunications Association

Open letter from ECTA CEOs to the College of Commissioners
What contribution from the Digital Single Market to
Europe’s global competitiveness?
How well we nurture local competition will decide. Global competitiveness springs from local competition.


Europe should have a high level of ambition in building a globally competitive economy and society. In the digital age we can undoubtedly only be globally competitive if the European economy – companies of all sizes in all sectors, public administrations, schools, research centres etc. – and society are connected and take advantage of digital innovation.

What is withholding Europe’s Bright Digital Future?  It is crucial to identify the real problems and getting rid of myths in order to find the right solutions.

Underinvestment in European new broadband infrastructure is a myth. As shown by independent data sources such as the OECD the EU does not lag behind. Operators with a viable business model  – be they big or small – have good access to capital. Many ECTA members see investment opportunities throughout Europe. 

On the basis of committed investments for the next three years (presented in shareholder reports) approximately 80% new fibre1 coverage can be estimated by 2020, which is broadly the commercially addressable part of the population. Competition and our regulatory framework do not withhold new investments. To the contrary, competition – injected to this otherwise uncompetitive sector by regulation - has been successful in promoting investments.

Rural new broadband coverage, however, is likely to require both private and public contributions in line with our robust State Aid Guidelines as well as with the support of your investment plan.

Whilst there is a heated debate about the emergence of new monopolies, the rise of the old monopolies seems to go unnoticed or even promoted. Old monopolies have 86% market share in VDSL -based broadband2. This should be clear cause for concern. Reinforcing mono polies or building duopolies instead of a genuine level playing field and a vibrantly competitive market is as detrimental for Europe’s global competitiveness today as it was decades ago. Monopolies and duopolies are not in the public interest in the future either.

The Digital Single Market should benefit end-users: consumers, citizens, public administrations and businesses (be they SMEs or large corporates). They want real choice and more competition, not less. They want affordability, not hidden or open price increases. They want high speeds , innovation and value for money. They want a trustworthy Open Internet. There is no secret in competition being the best way to deliver these.

The Digital Single Market will be a success if it gets everyone connected. It will be a success if it results in a digitalised economy and society. Europe will fail to have a Digital Single Market if it favours monopolies or duopolies. Competition is the surest way to explore and build our bright digital future.

1  Including FTTC and FTTB/FTTH.
2  Incumbent share of VDSL subscriptions according to the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2014.

Signed by

Hubertus von Roenne
ECTA Chairman

and ECTA Members:
Norbert Westfal, President, BREKO 
Alex Goldblum, Chief Executive Officer, Eurofiber
Alberto Calcagno, CEO, Fastweb
Panos Papadopoulos, CEO, Forthnet SA
Pawel Szymanski, CFO, Netia SA
Jurgen Hermann, Chief Executive Officer, QSC AG
Cem Celebiler, CEO, Turknet
Martin Witt, President, VATM
Johannes Pruchnow, CEO, Versatel GmbH

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