At this week's Digital Venice 2014, the GSMA and leading European telecoms operators presented a statement to
With the new Italian EU Presidency providing a sharpened focus on
Below is the text of the joint statement, which is supported by the following CEOs of European telecoms operators:
* Timotheus Hottges, CEO,
By providing fast, reliable, secure and intelligent connectivity the Communications Industry is an essential part of how every company in
To this end, a new ICT public policy is urgently required with the following main goals.
PROMOTING ICT INFRASTRUCTURES TO SUPPORT CONSUMER WELFARE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
* The EU should support the development of modern digital infrastructures by ensuring a simplified, digital-friendly, pro-investment regulatory framework ensuring a fair long-term return on investments in new infrastructure. A review of the European regulatory framework is the appropriate tool for addressing such an essential goal.
* Achievement of the 2020 Digital Agenda targets requires both private and public investment. Whilst operators are increasing investment levels across the EU there will inevitably be cases of market failure. These should be addressed by means of appropriate public funding to avoid the emergence of a new digital divide. But private investments should not be crowded out by competition from public projects.
* The EU should support and promote the on-going reallocation of radio spectrum to the Communications Industry so that operators can continue to meet consumer and business needs for faster connection speeds and greater capacity. This process needs to be co-ordinated at the European level. Policies recently supported by the Commission and the Parliament concerning spectrum licencing provide the right answers to these issues. There is also a need to ensure award processes are not structured to extract excessive payment for spectrum as this has a direct impact on the financial capacity to invest in infrastructure.
* The EU should support a new interpretation and application of Merger Regulation and Guidelines to reflect the rapidly changing environment, characterised by strong growth in data consumption and new sources of Internet-based competition. Consolidation in the European telecoms market, along with reasonable safeguard measures, can provide a boost to investment, support job creation and deliver innovative services without any adverse impact on competition.
* The EU needs to support a level playing field of regulation between the Communications and Internet industries. The European Communications Industry needs greater freedom to compete on equal terms with the Internet industry. At the same time, Internet players should be subject to the same rules.
ENSURING DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
* Digitalisation of the
* Fast broadband networks and the transition to full IP will allow an array of new and innovative services. In order to support the availability of customised services differentiated on the basis of quality and price a balanced approach to Open Internet regulation is required, based on general principles rather than detailed, prescriptive and restrictive rules.
* European citizens need to retain control of their "digital life". The EU needs to address any bottlenecks that persist due to a lack of interoperability and/or portability of personal data, content and applications when switching between platforms or providers. An open and transparent framework, concerning both telecommunications operators and Internet companies must be put in place.
* A coordinated approach to data privacy and digital security is needed to help build trust and confidence in the uptake and use of new digital services by EU citizens and provide them with effective and consistent protection across the digital value chain. These high standards of data protection and security must be harmonised across
* The EU needs to address the systematic encryption of data traffic by Internet players as this threatens to distort the level playing field for competition and compromise the coordinated fight against cybercrime.
STIMULATING JOB CREATION
* Telecoms operators in
* The EU should support welfare policies that promote the qualitative change in skills required in the labour market. This re-tooling of the European labour market is essential if the region is to regain a position of leadership in the Digital Economy and maximise the potential impact on growth and development.
* European institutions must ensure that a stronger innovation ecosystem can develop in
GOVERNING THE GLOBAL CHALLENGES OF INTERNET
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