ERT joins call for investments in connectivity infrastructure

The latest paper by the ERT highlights the importance of connectivity infrastructure for Europe’s industrial competitiveness and digital and green transition. It proposes policy recommendations to facilitate investments in gigabit connectivity and accelerate its roll-out across Europe.

ERT joins call for investment in digital infrastructure
Juan Luis Redondo Maíllo

Juan Luis Redondo Maíllo

Reading time: 3 min

Connectivity is decisive for Europe’s competitiveness” – this is the fitting title of the most recent expert paper released by the European Round Table for Industry (ERT), which comprises the Europe’s largest industrial companies. In this paper, the ERT argues that secure, reliable, and high-performing connectivity infrastructure is a major contributor to Europe’s economic wellbeing and competitiveness. Gigabit connectivity and the new technologies it underpins, such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) or the metaverse, will benefit society at large as citizens will gain access to better services and products. Similarly, European industries rely on access of such advanced networks to harness the benefits that these disruptive technologies can bring to their productivity, innovation, and sustainability. This paper clearly shows that gigabit connectivity is a crucial building block for Europe’s economic and societal advancement.

Yet, as we at Telefonica and as the telco sector as a whole have argued, Europe is “in the slow lane”. It continues to fall behind other regions in the deployment of gigabit infrastructure, and it faces an investment gap. In the past, this investment gap to achieve the Digital Decade vision has been viewed as solely affecting and benefiting the telecommunications sector. However, in a world where connectivity is a cornerstone of global competitiveness, the advantages of secure, reliable, and high-performing connectivity extend to all European consumers and businesses. Europe has access to world-leading technologies but is falling behind in the deployment of advanced connectivity infrastructure, with repercussions across all industries and sectors. The desire to put in place ambitious telco sector reform benefits industry and society at large and we welcome the ERT’s focus and support for this agenda.

The ERT identifies the EU’s reliance on outdated telecoms regulatory approaches and policies as the root cause for these problems and urges policymakers to act in three ways which would increase Europe’s competitiveness. Firstly, the EU should address the barriers to the European Telecom Single Market, with a focus on improving the private sector environment, promote innovation and drive the take-up and use of digital services. Furthermore, the EU’s competition policy must become fit for the digital age and enable in-market consolidation to achieve the scale needed to compete in the global scene and unlock investment. Lastly, the ERT supports a market-driven approach and urges Big Tech to engage in negotiations with the telecoms industry on contributing their fair share to the cost of connectivity.  

It is ever-more important for European industry to join forces and call for swift action to foster Europe’s competitiveness and future leadership position on the world stage.


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