EU telcos urge progressive ICT public policy

eGov Innovation editors
eGov Innovation

The GSMA and telecom operators in Europe are calling for a new ICT public policy that would support the region's goal of stimulating economic growth and job creation.

In a statement presented to Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy and President of the Council of the European Union during the high-level roundtable organized with Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, and leading industry CEOs, the telecom leaders said a fast, reliable, secure and intelligent connectivity can provide the foundations for a new wave of social welfare in Europe.

The signatories include Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom AG; Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO, Orange; Marco Patuano, CEO, Telecom Italia; César Alierta, Executive Chairman and CEO, Telefónica; Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group and Chairman, GSMA Board; and Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group.

The leaders said among the main goals of the proposed ICT public policy is support to the development of modern digital infrastructures that would ensure a simplified, digital-friendly, pro-investment regulatory framework. While operators are increasing investment across the EU, appropriate public funding is also necessary to avoid the emergence of a new digital divide.

They said the EU should support and promote the ongoing 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. 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.

On digital citizenship, the leaders stated that digitalization of the public administration will be a critical catalyst for the spread of ICT in Europe and telecom operators are ready to participate in ambitious projects. Fast broadband networks and the transition to full IP will allow an array of new and innovative services. However, a balanced approach to open internet regulation is required.

The leaders also see the need to reinvigorate European Digital Service Start-up ecosystems, which they said should be rationalized and focused on a smaller number of excellence programs, more specialised on “internet economy” and with a pan European scope.

Lastly, they believe Europe must play a key role in shaping the future of global Internet governance. "The internet needs to be governed by a coherent set of principles shared by all stakeholders. The current multi-stakeholder model, based on the balanced participation of different stakeholders such as governments, private sector and civil society, needs to be substantially strengthened," they said.


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