European Competitive Telecommunications Association

EUROPEAN TELECOMS SECTOR LOST 16BILLION

ECTA uses Next Generation Access conference to announce lost investment as a result of weak and inconsistent regulation

Brussels, 26 June, 2007 - Telecoms industry body ECTA today used a conference on High Speed Broadband access, currently the most contentious issue facing EU telecoms regulators, to announce the highlights of its forthcoming Regulatory Scorecard Investment Report. The Report concludes that investment in telecommunications in Europe's 15 leading economies could have been as much as 16 billion higher if regulatory environments had been consistently more favourable to competition.

The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) believes these findings come at a critical time in the debate on the appropriate level of regulation to encourage the development of High Speed Broadband access, by providing equal incentives for both incumbents and new entrants to invest.

Innocenzo Genna, Chairman of ECTA, said, The findings of the Investment Report confirm that effective regulation and investment are positively associated, and critically, that it is the differences in regulatory environments which account for much of the difference in investment between EU countries. Nowhere is it more important to ensure effective regulation, which does not discriminate in favour of incumbents, than in the delivery of high-speed services.

Genna added, Competition in the delivery of services over vDSL and fibre upgraded networks is vital if the EU digital economy is to grow and compete effectively on a global basis. Unless regulation and regulators are properly supported, we will return to the monopoly era of services provided exclusively by incumbents and in the process destroy today's unbundling business model that has been the main driver of innovation and growth in the broadband market.

Upgrading the historic copper telephone network through vDSL technology and fibre allows faster data transmission over a single connection and is seen as the next step in enhancing broadband services. However, control over these upgrades mostly remains in the hands of former state-owned incumbents, and Governments are facing increased demands from incumbents to grant protection from competition. This issue is also likely to be high on the agenda when Governments and the European Parliament debate planned changes to EU telecoms law  expected to be released end October.

Angelika Niebler MEP, Chair ITRE Committee of the European Parliament, gave the keynote address at today's conference. Her presentation focused on policies to drive growth and innovation in the high speed broadband sector. She was supported at the conference by additional speakers including Government and European Parliament representatives, regulators, law firms, economists and operators.

About ECTA's Regulatory Scorecard
The annual ECTA Regulatory Scorecard analyses the link between effective regulation and investment. By measuring the powers and performance of National Regulatory Authorities and the regulatory regimes overall, the Scorecard Report seeks to determine how effectively each of 15 countries promotes investment and competition. This year's report shows a continued strong, positive and statistically significant relationship between regulatory effectiveness and investment. It concludes that investment in telecoms has suffered where regulation has failed to tackle dominant companies, while countries that have opened their markets to competition by imposing effective regulation, have stormed ahead. 

For further information:
Barbara McCall or Charlie Pryor
The Wordshop
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7031 8270
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About ECTA
The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) looks after the regulatory and commercial interests of new entrant telecoms operators, ISPs and suppliers of products and services to the communications industry.

ECTA works for a fair regulatory environment, which allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms in order to multiply investment and innovation throughout an effective European internal market. The association represents the telecommunications industry to key government and regulatory bodies and maintains a forum for networking and business development.

ECTA member companies include operators, service providers and suppliers as well as National Associations of such, who all contribute towards regulatory policy development and participate in our comprehensive range of networking events, conferences, seminars, briefings and executive meetings.

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