European Commission wants to build unified European telecoms market

The European Commission is advocating the development of a unified European telecoms market. This should encourage the emergence of large pan-European players and enable the large investments needed to roll out fast broadband networks.

In a White Paper released on Wednesday, the Commission outlines the challenges facing the telecoms sector in the EU. By 2030, around €200 billion needs to be invested in rolling out the networks needed for the huge increase in data traffic and the application of the technologies of the future, such as automated driving.

Fragmented market

"We have the largest digital single market in the free world, one and a half times larger than the US market. We should be able to take advantage of that to deploy this very large infrastructure," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

According to Breton, the regulatory framework is too fragmented, with 27 national legislations. He advocates a true European digital market to facilitate the emergence of a pan-European telecoms market.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' (ETNO) Association welcomed "the European Commission's efforts to open the way to a policy that is more innovation-oriented, more forward-looking and conducive to investment".

No financing

However, the Commission did not address the call for a financial contribution from the tech giants like Google and Meta to finance the cost of the data traffic they generate. Telecom operators are calling for such a mechanism, arguing that services such as YouTube, Netflix en Facebook gobble up a majority of their network capacity.

The white paper serves as a starting point for a debate among all stakeholders. They can submit their contributions until June.



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