The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of our societies and economies and has revealed the crucial role of telecommunications networks as the critical infrastructure of our society. In this context, telecommunications companies are a strategic ally in achieving a double transition, digital and green, and play a central role in industrial strategies at national and regional level.
Firstly, communication infrastructures are the critical foundation on which economic growth is based as they enable the adoption of technologies and digitalization. It is therefore essential to accelerate the deployment of high-capacity networks (5G and fibre).
In turn, telecommunications operators are also technological communication companies, i.e. they offer digital solutions to large companies, SMEs and public administrations based on technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Edge Computing and Blockchain.
At the European level, we are at a turning point. In the short term, the European Union is facing an economic crisis that will only deepen existing social, economic and territorial inequalities. In this respect, the Recovery and Resilience Plan will be key to the revival of the European industrial fabric and job creation. In the medium and long term, regaining global economic leadership and competitiveness will be key to promoting value-based digitalisation, leaving no one behind. It is time to address these gaps and seize the opportunities offered by technology to build better societies and economies.
Industrial strategy is indispensable to achieve this goal. To defend European values on a global scale, we first need to foster the competitiveness of European companies and create economic value. Digitalization means growth, quality jobs, sustainability and inclusion. That is why policies and regulation cannot go in the opposite direction. Europe’s ambitious connectivity targets will not be met without renewed regulation and policies that enable a paradigm shift in terms of investments, costs, competition, innovation, and business-to-business agreements.
The EU and its Member States must react in time with a sense of urgency and this requires an enhanced public-private partnership approach, a Digital Deal, based on a governance model capable of combining social, environmental and economic aspects. This is the way to achieve a long-term sustainable digital transition, support investment and, with it, the growth of the telecommunications sector.
Telefónica, as a relevant digital telecommunications company in Europe, seeks to participate constructively in the debate on how policy makers should define a European industrial policy based on high capacity networks to achieve the full potential of the green and digital transition.