#connectedcontinent – a timely proposal but is there enough time?

09 October 2013 Author: EIFonline

On 11 September the European Commission adopted a legislative package "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries.

This new telecom regulation has been widely debated by the industry players and law makers in the EU institutions and member states.  Therefore, EIF’s Meeting with European Commission VP Neelie Kroes on 24 September offered a timely opportunity to gather EIF members and friends and have their questions answered by the initiator of this new regulation.  EIF chair and MEP Pilar del Castillo hosted this occasion and opened the floor for commissioner Kroes.

Commissioner Kroes began by warning about Europe’s situation in the ICT sector:  “We offer our citizens 8 times less fiber broadband and 15 times less 4G than our major competitors.” She stressed the need for a strong, innovative, dynamic European telecom sector, one that can think big and compete globally. With the new proposal the Commission is aiming to give a boost for the single telecom market in Europe. VP Kroes gave detailed explanations on some parts of this proposal: pushing roaming premiums out of the market; legal protection for an open internet (net neutrality); coordinated spectrum assignment.  Neelie Kroes hopes that the October European Council can consider this proposal as part of measures to ensure a thriving, digital Europe. In closing the Commissioner invited everyone to work together to ensure this package gets delivered in time.

Full VP Kroes’ speech:

 

Full text "Building a connected continent" available here.

Michal Boni, Poland’s Minister of Administration and Digitization, followed VP Kroes to address EIF members and friends. He supported the Commission’s efforts and work in removing European telecom market fragmentation. He invited all stakeholders to work together as fast as possible to make the proposal a part of the European Council agenda in October. At the same time he encouraged the European Parliament to work on the new regulation, taking into account outcomes of public debates and consultations.

VP Kroes then responded to concerns rising from the audience about the new proposal. Members of the European Parliament were worried about the timing as parliament might run out of time to adopt the regulation before its last session in March 2014. “What will the proposal on net neutrality do to the public value of the open internet? “, was another question raised. Also, questions about the impact assessment of proposed measures and about consumer rights have been raised by participants.

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