….appropriate regulatory approach will be key.
The Digital Agenda for Europe (EDA) targets are challenging but the situation is better than was originally expected. That is the main conclusion of the Analysys Mason report that Telefónica and Telecom Italia presented on May 30th at ETNO/Total Telecom Regulatory Summit in Brussels.
The event opened by Georg Serentschy, Chairman of BEREC, and Anthony Whelan, Head of Vice President Kroes, attracted about 200 participants from the EU Institutions, national regulators, industry, academics and investors.
To reach the Digital Agenda for Europe (EDA) targets, it will be crucial to count with an appropriate regulatory framework to encourage investment while policy actions should focus on demand stimulation in most countries.
According to the report, the 30Mbit/s coverage target for 100% of EU citizens by 2020, although challenging should be achievable, with limited support, throughout the EU, taking into account the potential to use a range of different technologies (including fibre, wireless, cable and mobile).
Wireless networks will also play an important role in delivering 30Mbit/s coverage especially in rural areas. The 800MHz digital dividend spectrum is well-suited to this application but additional low-frequency spectrum may be needed in order to maintain high quality service as take-up increases. Consequently, member states which have not yet awarded the 800MHz spectrum should do so as soon as possible.
The EDA target of 50% of European households with subscriptions of 100Mbit/s-services by 2020 is achievable in most member states using a mix of technologies provided that both investment conditions (particularly the extent to which regulation encourages investment), investors’ perception and actual take-up improve.
Cable is best placed to deliver 100Mbit/s coverage quickly in those member states where it has footprint since its upgrading effort is more modest. However for EU widespread coverage, other competing technologies are necessary and will deployed gradually at a speed that is very much depending on whether the regulatory framework is revisited: non-cable NGAs cannot be always assumed to have a first mover advantage.
Overall, demand is the main driver for NGA deployment and so public policy should be devoted to increasing the actual take-up and expanding coverage in NGA white areas. To this end, public campaigns to increase awareness of the benefits of NGA and commercial flexibility for operators are both important factors in encouraging future investment.
Analysys Mason will present this report next June, 20th at a workshop on Connecting Europe Facility hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels, in case you have the opportunity to attend.
Inmaculada de la Cruz, Manager, Corporate Regulatory Affairs, Telefónica, S.A.