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ETNO Calls For More Urgent Action On Europe Union’s Digital Decade Targets

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By Annie Turner

It wants a comprehensive industrial policy, new rules and an investment-conducive environment for telecoms in a proper Single Market

The European Telecommunications Operators’ Association (ETNO) has published an open letter calling for “political ambition on investment and for a fresh focus on innovation in the EU connectivity ecosystem”.

The letter coincides with the Telecommunications Council meeting taking place this week and ETNO is urging more urgent action in achieving the EU’s Digital Decade Targets.

Specifically, it is calling for “a fresh, coherent and ambitious industrial policy approach to strengthen Europe’s connectivity ecosystem, which includes not only telecom operators, but also vendors and the wider supply-chain”.

Investment-conducive

ETNO says it has identified seven key technologies from recent Deloitte report it commissioned: 5G standalone, FTTH and FTTx roll-out, Open RAN, network virtualization and softwarisation, edge computing, quantum encryption and low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications.

ETNO calls on Member States to take a comprehensive industrial policy approach to such technologies, so that Europe can grow into a digital value-chain leader.

The association points out the European Commission reckons the EU needs to invest more than an additional €200 billion and says, “We also require bold measures to create an investment-conducive environment… we strongly agree on the need to work on a ‘sustainable financing model’ for the sector, as emerged both in a recent Commission announcement and at the León Informal Council meeting.”

Tear up the rulebook

It also wants “a thorough and ambitious reform of the telecom rulebook aimed at unleashing the potential of the European connectivity ecosystem. We believe that the completion of the European telecom Single Market will play a pivotal role in this. Current telecom rules are overly complex and they should be cut down significantly.

“This is key to ensure a harmonized telecom Single market across Europe, as opposed to the currently fragmented approaches at national level, caused by differing approaches of national regulators.

“From spectrum policy to data, from security to the implementation of telecom rules, we need an extraordinary effort to finally create a telecom Single Market that benefits both users on the demand side as well as small and big businesses in the connectivity value-chain. With the European connectivity ecosystem evolving rapidly through innovation, in-market and cross-market scale will be a critical factor in creating EU digital leadership.”

Good luck

Good luck with all that as we remind ourselves that almost 18 months down the line, a single proposed merger in one of Europe’s toughest markets, Spain, is still going through the approvals process while for all the talk at MWC about fair-share, the Commission’s stance remains unclear and action appears as remote as ever.

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