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DigiWorld Summit: Investing in our digital future


Carlos López Blanco, Telefónica’s Global Head, Public and Regulatory Affairs, had an active role at the 39th annual DigiWorld Summit event held in Montpellier (France) whose central theme was: “Investing in our Digital Future”. DigiWorld Summit is Europe’s key annual event for telecom, internet and media experts from around the globe

Telefónica’s executive participated in the panel “Investment and digital infrastructure” together with Craig Silliman from Verizon, Frédéric Pujol from IDATE, and also Oliver Huart, from TDF. Here you may download his presentation.

During the panel, Carlos stated that well-being and wealth in the 21st century will be linked to the way people, companies and countries approach and embrace digital transformation. Digitalization is one of the strongest drivers for increasing growth, strengthening competitiveness, boosting employment and it offers a greater capacity to tackle social and environmental issues.


“In this pathway, ultrafast broadband connectivity is a key enabler: a digital revolution fostered by an exponential, ubiquitous and mobile internet, driving a hyper connected society, always on, in real time. The Gigabit Society, the age of boundless connectivity and intelligent automation will be enabled by fibre and 5G infrastructures” highlighted Carlos
 

In the last decade, each region in the world has adopted different approaches, from market led to prescriptive regulation, leading to different results on infrastructures and investments. Europe is lagging behind in LTE and fixed NGN coverage & adoption rate, speeds and data consumption said during the panel.


                                                Figure 1
 

… and this digital gap is not caused by a lack of willingness of the European industry to invest.

 

Next generation infrastructures will need:
 

1) High investments.

2) Innovation & partnerships to further connect the unconnected.

3) New digital business models & sources of revenues.

4) A new policy for the future, to overcome Europe’s weaknesses in the digital world.

 

                                               Figure 2

 

 

We endorse the vision for a European Gigabit Society and share its ambitious targets and initial objectives, but, what about delivery? The proposed new EU framework is positive but falls short of addressing the issues constraining investments in networks.

Successful policies applied at an early stage in Spain have shown a route to reach this widespread fibre infrastructure. As a result, in the worst years of economic crisis, Spain has managed to lead the deployment of ultrafast fibre in Europe.


                                                        Figure 3


And what are the lessons learnt?
 

  • Recover flexibility mechanisms in access to foster investments
  • Introduce sensible and harmonized sprectrum policy to foster 5G
  • Modernise universal service & keep public financing to limit burden

 

This is just the start for addressing policy challenges in the digital world, without forgetting that level playing field will be essential to make this a reality. “Level playing field”, “Forward-looking” and “light-touch” should be policy-making watchwords in the digital age.

 

Lead, believe in the future, invest in people, trust our companies, and let the future begin here and now!

 

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