How will the future EU electronic communications Code help deliver the Gigabit Society? Are wholesale-only and co-investment the models of the future?
The European Parliament has now entered a decisive stage in the overhaul of the rules of the games applicable to telecom and internet companies in the European Union. Since the adoption of the current rules in 2009, the market has dramatically changed. New players have emerged as consumers and businesses increasingly rely on very high connectivity services.
Today’s smart cars, cities, energy, industry, health, banking, education, research, public services etc need increased connectivity including wireless, that means very high capacity fixed and mobile networks. Are the proposals currently discussed by Europe’s lawmakers sufficient to bring about the hailed gigabit society? The necessary investment is estimated to €500-600 billion. Up to 90% of this amount must be provided by the private sector. Crucially, that requires predictability and rewarding risk-taking and long-term investment. Are the proposals currently discussed matching the expectations of the industry?
The European proposals promote the wholesale-only model, co-investment and access to the drop segment. But are these the ‘silver bullet’ that will unlock investment in fibre? Without pervasive fibre infrastructure, the future 5G networks cannot be deployed. Moreover, 5G investment will require critical mass, while the European competition authorities have recently blocked several mergers between mobile companies. Is the EU merger policy at odds with investor’s expectations?
At stake is the future of the €16.5 trillion EU economy, representing 23% of global GDP, 500 million consumers, and a strong global competitive industrial sector. Investment in fibre networks is the prerequisite for cloud computing, big data, data-driven science, robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things to fully develop.
The European approach contrasts with the US approach and the Chinese policies in this area. While the EU wants to regulate ‘over the top’ players, the new FCC chairman has expressed his preference for a less interventionistic approach. What is the best approach?
Key policy makers from the European institutions and from major telecom players will exchange their views, as well as investors, leading lawyers and economists. Among the policy makers that will intervene at this year’s Digital Regulation Forum, chaired by Luigi Gambardella, Founder of Broadband4Europe, are Pilar del Castillo Vera, Member of the European Parliament, Anthony Whelan, Director European Commission, Reinald Krueger, Head of Regulatory Coordination and Markets Unit European Commission, Benno Buehler, Analyst – Chief Economist Team European Commission, Eleonora Ocello, Case handler European Commission, Maloor Preetam, Corporate Strategy Division ITU, Stefan Koreneef, Attache Telecom, Digital Single Market Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, Roslyn Layton, President Elect Donald Trump Transition Team FCC, Gabriella Muscolo, Commissioner Italian Antitrust Authority, Stephen Unger, Vice Chairman, BEREC, Antonio Nicita, Commissioner of AGCom Italian Communications Regulatory Authority, Kevin O’Brien, Commissioner, Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in Ireland, Annegret Groebel, Head of Department International Relations & Postal Regulation, Federal Network Agency Germany, Chris Woolford, Director International Spectrum Policy Ofcom, Johan Keetelaar, Director Telecom, Transport & Post, Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Jeremy Olivier, Head of Internet Policy Ofcom and Zhao Shuyu, Researcher China Academy of ICT (CAICT), Ministry for Industry and Information Technology China.
Major telecom and internet players will be represented in the discussions by Franco Bassanini, President of OpenFiber, Theo Bertram, EMEA Policy Strategy Manager Google, Nicholas Blades, Director of Regulation, Competition and Data Policy Telefonica, Eric Debroeck, Director Regulatory Affairs Orange, Tom Dailey, Vice President and General Counsel – International Verizon, Roland Doll, Vice-President European Affairs Deutsche Telekom, Jos Huigen, Director of European Affairs KPN, Eric Joyce, Director of Business Development for MENA Adtran, Phillip Malloch, Vice President – Head of Group Public Affairs TeliaSonera, Ben Wreschner, Head of Network and Economic Regulation Vodafone Group, Mark Shurmer, Group Director of Regulatory Affairs BT, Robert Pepper, Global Connectivity and Technology Policy Facebook and Kumar Singarajah, Director, Regulatory Affairs & Business Development Avanti Communications Group.
The voices of the investor’s community will be expressed by among other Alex Baring, Partner, TCI Fund Management, Jack Callaway, Global Co-Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Investment Banking Barclays, Tore Kristoffersen, Director special projects, Lyse Fiberinvest and Chairman of the board Altibox.dk and Maurice Patrick, Managing Director Barclays Capital.
The legal and academic community will be represented in the discussions by David Cantor, attorney & Advisor, Telecommunications Law & Strategy, Yves Gassot, CEO and Director General IDATE, Christian Hocepied, Senior Research Fellow Namur University, Bo Ji, Assistant Dean, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Francesco Liberatore, partner Squire Patton Boggs London, John Strand, Strand consult and Georg Serentschy, Senior Advisor with Squire Patton Boggs Brussels,
Trade associations will be represented in the discussions by Raj Sivalingam, Executive Director – Telecoms and Spectrum techUK, Erzsébet Fitori, Director General FTTH Council Europe, Lise Fuhr, Director ETNO, Samira Gazzane, Policy Manager, Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), Kalpak Gude, President Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman Cable Europe, Daniel Pataki and Mani Manimohan, respectively Vice President Policy and Regulation and Senior Director of Public Policy GSMA and Claudia Vernotti, Director ChinaEU.
If you are interested to participate please email Anna.Rys@Knect365.com