Today in Europe we stand on the brink of a new digital transition. New applications and services, from e-Health to the cloud to Connected TV, stand to offer huge benefits for citizens and businesses, and an overall boost to our economy. But many of these new ideas cannot run on copper-based ADSL broadband networks. We cannot let our networks be the bottleneck for this amazing opportunity: we need investment in new high-speed infrastructure. And for that, we need the sector that provides that vital infrastructure – telecoms companies and others – to be strong.
Over a decade ago, we successfully introduced competition to European telecom networks. The results to date have been positive for consumers and businesses. But the transition to an expensive new generation of high-speed networks, co-existing with the old, poses special challenges. Though the public sector can help, the real heavy lifting must be done by private investment. Clearly, whatever the network and whatever the operator, people need to see an adequate return before they will invest: taking into account the risks.
Last October, the Commission launched two public consultations regarding regulated wholesale access to telecoms networks, on cost methodology and non-discrimination, to ensure consistency throughout Europe, develop the single market in communications, and help achieve our high-speed broadband goals.
Those consultations sparked a wider debate about the role of regulation in promoting competition and investment in a period of technological transition. We received contributions from BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and national regulatory authorities (NRAs), sectoral associations, investors, companies, and detailed expert studies.
We have thoroughly examined the contributions made, and I can now announce the decisions I intend to propose to ensure that Europe finds its place as the connected, competitive continent, in particular through investment in high-speed, next generation access (NGA) broadband networks.
Regulatory policy should clearly be an enabler not an obstacle. Regulation that is stable over time and consistent throughout Europe can underpin sustainable competition and efficient investment. Here to read more.