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Digital Leadership for Europe?


23 . Oktober  2017

Bas Burger

Posts nach Autoren: Bas Burger, CEO, Global Services


Digital Leadership for Europe?

Europe’s leaders met in Tallinn last month to talk digital.  5G, Internet of Things, privacy, Artificial Intelligence were all on the menu as heads of government plotted a course for our digital future.   EU Telecoms Ministers meet on 24 October – just a few weeks later – but will they be able to deliver on Europe’s digital transformation? 

One of their challenges is to agree the revised rules (European Electronic Communications Code) of the game for Europe’s telecoms networks.   Last year the European Commission proposed ideas for boosting investment and competition in Europe’s networks and increasing innovation in services. But much has changed during the legislative process and a year on things look quite different.

Investment and competition should be two sides of the same coin.  Europe has highly developed regulation in support of competition but finds it hard to reconcile with longer term investment horizons.  The US – a market I know well having led our Americas business for several years – has tipped the other way.

So what should EU Ministers think as they review the Code?   Maybe start with the customer, whether business or consumer - not just price but also quality of experience, security, speed, reliability.  That means as a first point don’t lose sight of innovation – Europe needs more, not less – something to bear in mind for over complex e-privacy discussions as well as in network technologies.  Another is certainty to support investment – for consumers, businesses, operators, investors: don’t change the rules of the game on how to measure competition.   And think long term – we are providing the networks and services of tomorrow, and regulation should support that.  None of that means less competition. But it does mean rules that serve not just today’s needs but those of the future too, so we can maximise the success of Europe’s digital transformation for all.