To this end European firms need to vigorously compete in both the domestic and foreign markets and technological innovation is key and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry represents an essential pillar and opportunity for growth.
Indeed, the majority of the most radical technological innovations are in fact delivered by the ICT industry.
As such, at the recently held Digital Venice 2014, the GSMA and leading European telecoms operators presented a statement to Prime Minister of
At the meeting, while the new Italian EU Presidency provides a sharpened focus on
Some of the European telecoms operators CEOs at the meeting included; CEO,
President and CEO,
According to the meeting, by providing fast, reliable, secure and intelligent connectivity the Communications Industry is an essential part of how every company in
This gap, according to the meeting does not reflect a lack of willingness to invest, but reflects differences in policy frameworks and industry structures which in other regions have been, and continue to be, more conducive to the infrastructure investments needed to support the next wave of economic growth.
According to the CEOs,
To this end, a new ICT public policy is urgently required with the following main goals.
The CEOs agreed at the meeting that 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.
They called for a review of the European regulatory framework, which they see as the appropriate tool for addressing such an essential goal.
According to them, achieving the 2020 Digital Agenda targets requires both private and public investment.They noted that whilst operators are increasing investment levels across the EU there will inevitably be cases of market failure, stressing that these should be addressed by means of appropriate public funding to avoid the emergence of a new digital divide, but that private investments should not be crowded out by competition from public projects.
The meeting also called on the EU to 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.
According to them, 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", they stated.
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