Cable Europe: ‘Close US-EU investment gap’

As Telecoms Ministers meet in Brussels, trade body Cable Europe is renewing calls for a regulatory framework which fosters private investment in high-speed broadband networks and improves the competitive potential of operators vis-à-vis traditional and over-the-top players.

Ministers will today December 4th discuss progress made under the Estonian presidency on issues which should realise the future of Europe’s gigabit ambitions, including the Electronic Communications Code, the 5G roadmap and ePrivacy.

Increasing the ability to attract willing private investors and build strong gigabit networks throughout Europe should be the guiding principle driving the ongoing negotiations, says the trade association.

The time to unleash the necessary investment is now. Investment in broadband networks is lagging behind in Europe compared to the US: investment per household is 3.1 times higher in the US, and the gap is widening according to Professor Christopher Yoo of the University of Pennsylvania.

The maintenance of fair competition rules between all players will be crucial. Significant Market Power criteria which is used to regulate dominant players must remain strictly aligned with the principles of competition law and European Union case law. Symmetric access regulation – where regulation is imposed upon all players – should remain the exception.

The trade body also called upon Ministers to be ambitious in spectrum policy, as it is co-ordination at EU level which will enable investment in radio equipment and networks.

“Innovation and network upgrades are the lifeblood of the cable sector,” declared Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman of Cable Europe. “Daily, we deliver the necessary ingredients to build the gigabit society and offer consumers and businesses quality services. Competition in the sector, coming from traditional as well as over-the-top players, is increasingly fierce and we will rise to this challenge in the full expectation that rules governing competition in our sector are predictable, fair and proportionate. We look to the European Institutions to deliver on that promise.”

Cable Europe is also highlighting concerns on the proposed ePrivacy rules as Ministers revisit this topic at their meeting. The association reiterated its call for a coherent legal framework between the GDPR and the ePrivacy draft regulation.

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