Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, offered the following statement regarding the Telecoms Ministers’ meeting on the Telecoms Single Market package in Brussels today:
“Today’s rejection by the Council of Ministers of large sections of the Telecoms Single Market package gives Europe’s policy makers a chance to take a fresh look at the region’s telecoms single market future. A bold new vision is required, which deals decisively with issues such as the new Internet bottlenecks and the years of accumulated legacy regulation that have held back investment in Europe’s networks.
“Now is the time to address these issues with clear, long term thinking and the GSMA urges the Council of Ministers, Commission and Parliament to start work as fast as possible.
“Despite falling revenues, increased regulation and a challenging economic climate, the telecoms industry continues to play a key role in building Europe’s digital future, investing almost €30 billion each year from now to 2020 in next-generation mobile networks. While the Commission’s proposed Investment Plan is a step in the right direction, there is an opportunity for the EU institutions to create policies that further boost investment and support innovation.
“In Europe, there is a legacy of outdated telecom-focused regulation, while major Internet players remain largely unregulated. If the region is to regain its digital leadership, the EU institutions urgently need to redress the balance between the rules for network operators, who are actively investing in Europe’s digital infrastructures, and those for global Internet companies.
“By taking a general principles-based approach to the Open Internet proposals, the Council would avoid overly prescriptive rules that risk undermining crucial network management and innovation that make the Internet work for everyone.
“Finally, broad and bold reform of spectrum policy is vital to support the identification and deployment of harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband across Europe. By reassessing the region’s current approach to spectrum policy, this will support the significant socio-economic benefits that mobile broadband can deliver.”