Europe gives regulatory push to fibre investments
The European Parliament and the Council have reached a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules.
The new European Electronic Communications Code, proposed by the European Commission, will boost investments in very high capacity networks across the EU, including in remote and rural areas.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market, said, “This agreement is essential to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness. We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “The new telecoms rules are an essential building block for Europe’s digital future. After several months of tough negotiations, we have agreed on bold and balanced rules to provide faster access to radio spectrum, better services and more protection for consumers, as well as greater investment in very high speed networks.”
The agreed rules are crucial for achieving Europe’s connectivity targets and providing everyone in the EU the best possible internet connection, so they can participate fully in the digital economy.
The FTTH Council Europe welcomed the new code, which promotes competitive investments in futureproof digital infrastructures like full fibre and 5G.
“Today, the co-legislators paved the way towards a long-term competitive market structure by creating a favourable environment for all investors — both traditional and new — to play an active role in building our digital highways,” said Ronan Kelly, President of the FTTH Council Europe.
For the first time, investment in very high capacity (VHC) networks is becoming a legally binding objective of the regulatory framework alongside competition, the creation of the single market and consumer benefits, said the Council in a statement. This new code marks a shift compared to the previous regulatory framework as it addresses the urgent need for step-change infrastructure investments in Europe and supports the evolution of the telecom market towards a long-term competitive structure. Even more importantly, the parameters defining the VHC networks will be built on the characteristics of fibre, the statement said.
“There is clearly a momentum for fibre investment,” said Erzsébet Fitori, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe. “We see a lot of the emerging wholesale-only vehicles backed by new types of investors and now there is also more room for step-change investments made in a safeguarded competitive structure to be governed by a commercially driven scheme. There is opportunity in the new code for full fibre investors and a win-win for end users, who will benefit from fibre-based connectivity and long-term competition.”
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