Statement comes as independent research reveals far-reaching economic benefits of broadband investment in Europe
(Brussels, 9 June 2017) Cable Europe is urging the prioritisation of an investment-friendly and predictable regulatory environment following discussions on the progress of the Electronic Communications Code which took place in Luxembourg today.
Telecoms Ministers from the Member States discussed the Maltese Presidency’s Progress Report on legislation designed to facilitate Europe’s transition to a gigabit society. Whilst broadly welcoming progress made to date, the trade body for cable broadband operators warned that a failure to adequately address a number of proposed barriers to investment would fundamentally damage Europe’s connectivity ambitions.
Cable Europe has stressed today that the principle of an investment friendly framework was the initial objective of the EU Commission, and calls upon Member States to keep intact the nature and intent of the Electronic Communications Code.
Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman of Cable Europe, said: “This is a key moment in discussions around the European Electronic Communications Code which will set the blueprint for European high speed connectivity. We all share the same goals for a connected continent. Despite this, the Progress Report published by the Maltese Presidency shows that well-established and effective principles enshrined in competition law are being called into question by some Member States. This would endanger the predictable and stable regulatory environment essential for investment, the creation of which was the Commission’s primary purpose when making digital goals a top priority, and ultimately damage our chances of success. We urge the European Institutions to stick to the necessary toolkit, to limit access to networks when they are not dominant, and to promote infrastructure competition.”
Cable Europe’s comments coincide with the publication of economic research conducted on behalf of member company Liberty Global, which quantifies the significant social and economic benefits of investment in high speed digital infrastructure. The analysis by economists Oxera Consulting studied the economic impact of Liberty Global’s investment in broadband between the start of 2013 and the end of the first quarter of 2017 and concluded that the higher broadband speed, improved productivity and price competition generated social benefits worth €7 billion in Europe.
Oxera Consulting estimates that the €14.5 billion investment by Liberty Global between the beginning of 2013 and March 2017 has generated a total of €23.7 billion of economic transactions through the supply chain.
Enno Eilts, Partner at Oxera, said: “With the digital economy expanding seven times faster than the rest of the economy, high-quality broadband networks are critical. As well as providing consumers with communication and entertainment services, fast and reliable broadband increases the productivity of businesses and provides individuals with access to substantial information and learning resources.”
Caroline van Weede, Managing Director of Cable Europe, said: “Oxera’s research enables us for the first time to quantify the enormous benefits to society of investment in superfast broadband. In this context it’s troubling to see that there remain some MEPs and Member States who would risk destabilising investment by changing well-established and well-functioning principles on competition and access regulation half way through the game.”
Notes to editors
- Measure of economic footprint
In simple monetary terms, Liberty Global has invested €14.5 billion in capital expenditure across its European operations between the start of 2013 and the end of Q1 2017.
This investment in Europe’s communications infrastructure requires supply chains that have a multiplier effect through the wider economy. The total economic footprint of Liberty Global’s investment includes the activity of Liberty Global’s suppliers, and of the suppliers to those suppliers, and so on up the value chain. The total economic value of this activity is estimated to be €23.7 billion.
- Measure of net benefits to consumers and businesses
Separate from the economic footprint of Liberty Global’s investment, the report also estimates the resulting net benefits for its customers (domestic and commercial)—i.e. the incremental benefits that they derive from accessing Liberty Global’s new and/or enhanced infrastructure over and above the benefits they would have received without the investment.
To read the full report, please click here.
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