Thursday, April 26, 2018

5G loading: European CEOs endorse Electronic Communications Code

Some 35 European chief executive officers of leading telecommunications companies, have endorsed the Electronic Communications Code (LCC), describing it as an ambitious outline to Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, reports ITRealms.

The group of CEOs and presidents in a press statement endorsed by all 35 CEOs and made available to ITRealms, noted they have been vocal supporters of the ambitions outlined in the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy.

They pointed out that Europe needs an environment that supports innovation, benefits consumers and enables increased investment in a competitive global economy. An indispensable enabler underpinning this ambition is the once-in-a-decade review of Europe’s telecoms laws, enshrined in the Electronic Communications Code (the Code). We write today to express our deep concern as to the status of the political negotiations among the European Institutions.

According to the original political and regulatory plans, the Code should be aimed at “incentivising investment in high speed broadband networks and achieving a consistent single market approach to spectrum policy and management”1. Success will be measured on whether we will collectively deliver increased levels of fibre roll-out and 5G to the benefit of European citizens and businesses.

ITRealms gathered that the telecoms companies signing this document have currently boosted their investment effort to €29.2bn/year in EU282 and we are the continental leaders in network roll-out and service innovation. However, if Europe is to match global competition and deliver on the Gigabit Society objectives, policy and regulatory conditions need to provide markets with ambitious pro-investment rules and increased certainty, moving away from interventionist regulatory dynamics.

“Today, unfortunately, there are no signals that the Code will deliver on its original ambition and support the investments required. On the contrary, there has been little progress on vital measures to facilitate 5G roll-out with stronger spectrum governance and longer license duration. The Code also falls short of supporting successful fibre investment models, which require strong incentives for co-investment and commercial agreements alike. Similarly, the Code fails to provide more space for innovation and consistent standards of consumer protection for equivalent services. What is more, analysts and investors are worried about additional ex-ante regulatory constraints in the field of so-called oligopolies and price regulation, while the European Commission originally proposed more regulatory certainty and better investment conditions,” part of the statement read.

They, therefore, called on the European Institutions to urgently address the shortcomings of the current debate by re-injecting the needed ambition into the process. Otherwise, even the existing EU Directives would deliver more predictability and certainty.

The Code should usher European citizens and businesses into the digital future, enabling the European Union to be in lead of the vigorous transformation we will experience in the next 10 years. We believe that European lawmakers should not accept a text falling short of the initial objectives. For this reason, no agreement should be given to any legislative measures delaying digital investment.

“We remain keen to continue engaging in the debate and we stand ready to support the European Institutions in restoring the initial spirit of the reform. Europe must not miss this defining opportunity to lead digital transformation and ignite growth,” they enthused.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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