European Competitive Telecommunications Association

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ECTA Regulatory Conference 2016: Shaping the EU Digital Landscape

Brussels, 9 November 2016: With the recent launch of the European Commission's legislative proposals for the review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, this year's ECTA Regulatory Conference is a timely opportunity to discuss a wide range of policy issues with a view to better understanding how we can shape the EU digital landscape.

In ECTA’s opinion, the answer is clear: only a vibrantly competitive market will ensure that: (i) the networks of the future will continue to be developed on schedule to meet demand, (ii) genuinely useful services continue to evolve, and (iii) affordability and hence take-up of services and applications will be guaranteed. Competition is the best driver of investment. For some people this might sound like just a slogan. However in the context of the discussions on the EU regulatory framework, it is essential to stress what really is at stake.

The view of ECTA members is that Europe should focus on providing citizens and professional end-users with the best choice and quality at affordable prices. As our world moves further online, the ICT sector is no longer about reducing costs or increasing productivity, it literally changes our daily lives and working experiences. For this digital ecosystem to work effectively, we need to get the right fixed and mobile infrastructures and services up and running to properly leverage the opportunities brought by digital innovation.

"Innovation is what alternative operators are especially good at.” highlighted Gijs Phoelich, Chairman of ECTA. "In order to attract and retain customers, they need to be able to truly differentiate themselves, bring the ‘wow factor’ which convinces the customer to switch to a better offer. Wholesale network access regulation has enabled the development of the most innovative products over the past 15+ years1  at affordable prices, thus spurring an exponential increase in broadband take-up and revenues2. Regulatory policy should ensure that challenger operators continue to be able to play their role in fostering innovation for the benefits of end-users.”

"It is clear that while regulation, and in particular wholesale access regulation, is instrumental to enable competition by alternative operators, it has not reduced the level of investments by incumbent operators.” stressed Luc Hindryckx, Executive Director of ECTA. "As stated by BEREC in its report3  on Next Generation Access (NGA) in October 2016, the differences in NGA rollout in Member States "can, to a large extent, be explained by factors which are largely exogenous to NRAs and regulation. A main factor identified is competition from other fixed network infrastructures […] In particular, FTTP rollout has often been initiated or mainly driven by alternative operators.” ECTA members are also active investors in Very High Capacity Networks and support the Commission’s plans to further facilitate competitive investment. The regulatory framework needs to be crafted in a manner in which all willing investors -large or small- can play a role. Therefore, it would be erroneous for policies to favour regulatory forbearance or premature deregulation aimed at incentivising the roll-out of networks by dominant operators.” 

With fit-for-purpose regulatory policies, ECTA members remain strongly engaged to meet the challenges of the digital age in all sectors of the economy, continue to act as a catalyst for investments, be investors themselves and to be in the driver’s seat for innovative offers.

The discussions to shape the new European Electronic Communications Code are underway, and will be ongoing for the next 12 to 18 months. ECTA is firmly committed to actively contribute to the shaping of the EU regulatory framework going forward.

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1  e.g. faster broadband, multi-play offers, bigger mobile data bundles, better business services, etc.
2  Fixed broadband take-up increased from 30% in 2005 to 72% of homes in 2015. Broadband revenues for the sector increased from €19 billion in 2005 to €46 billion in 2014 (data from the 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and Analysys Mason (2015) for ECTA, The digital single market and telecoms regulation going forward
3  BEREC Report: Challenges and drivers of NGA rollout and infrastructure competition: http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/reports/6488-berec-report-challenges-and-drivers-of-nga-rollout-and-infrastructure-competition



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. 

Contact: 
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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