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EU Telecoms Framework Review Offers a ‘Mixed Bag’

Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK comments on the European Comission's proposals that were published yesterday.

"Jobs and growth depend on boosting digital connectivity. Europe's businesses and consumers need faster more capable and resilient networks to be deployed at scale and pace.

“The Commission's framework is a mixed bag. There are some positive proposals, but the fixation on fibre risks distracting from the bigger picture. We need to be connecting people and not just places. techUK would like to see more emphasis on outcomes, which will help providers respond to market trends and encourage innovation.

“Innovations that massively increase the speeds that can be delivered over existing fixed line technologies, as well as wireless and satellite solutions, must not be overlooked or considered only where fibre won’t go.

“Consumers and businesses need greater mobile broadband connectivity. In the UK, most business calls already originate on mobile networks. We agree that Europe needs to take a leadership role in 5G, as it did with earlier mobile technologies, but sharing best practice shouldn’t lead to a rushed launch – operators should have the freedom to launch 5G when it’s right for local market conditions.

“The Commission has rightly recognised that mobile connectivity on road and rail is crucial, but that shouldn’t be confined only to motorways and commuter trains. We should address secondary routes as well where connectivity today is often spotty or non-existent.

“techUK welcomes the Commission’s recognition of the importance of spectrum. We support the proposals for greater co-ordination across the EU as to how spectrum may be used, when, and for how long. But mobile operators already face commercial incentives to use their spectrum effectively – a “policing” role for the Commission is unnecessary and could have unintended outcomes. Each Member State should continue to have ultimate responsibility for use of spectrum within its borders.”

The Commission yesterday published Its telecoms reform package:

• Communication on connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market – Towards European Gigabit Society
• Communication on 5G for Europe: an Action Plan
• Proposal for a Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast) Annexes
• Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications
• Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulations (EU) No 1316/2013 and (EU) No 283/2014 as regards the promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities

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