The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO

The European Commission has recently launched a transformation path towards a Gigabit Society, aiming to have each and every European citizen benefit from a full digital empowerment by 2025. This means to empower citizens to access new, innovative services and products – ranging from connected cars to e-government, from e-health to Internet-of-Things. All of this requires cutting-edge connectivity.

The Gigabit Society targets network speeds of significantly above 100 Mbps for all European consumers and 1 Gbps for public institutions, major transport hubs and digitally-intensive businesses.

As European telcos, we welcome this vision and we want to get practical about how we to make it happen. This is the reason why we commissioned a new Report to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Building on the heritage of all our companies, who are the first investors in broadband networks across the EU, it is our strong aspiration to make the high network speeds envisioned by the Gigabit Society available to the citizens of Europe in an inclusive way. We want to make the Gigabit Society a reality for all Europeans, as soon as possible.

In order to realize such vision, enough resources should be mobilized and all Europeans should be able to tap into the opportunity. We face many trade-offs in our effort to deliver and we need to ensure that the investment climate allows a speedy and efficient roll-out.

We strongly believe that the best path towards the Gigabit Society lies in a technology-inclusive approach supported by a broad range of investment models. The number of citizens who will be empowered will be directly proportional to the inclusiveness of regulatory incentives.

Our priority should be to ensure that no European territory is left behind and that transformative network upgrades empower citizens across the Continent. To this end, operators across Europe should have the flexibility to design their own networks, choosing the best investment model and the most appropriate technology. These include FTTH,, 5G, cable, or any other technology that will help connect Europeans to very high capacity (VHC) networks.

The required flexibility within and across countries also extends to commercial strategies and marketing approaches. Individual operators need to capture diverse consumer needs and face different environments, which require a variety of choices in their investment and commercial priorities. But all share one overarching goal: providing ubiquitous access to the Gigabit Society to all Europeans by 2025.

Regulation should give telcos the leeway to try new paths and be innovative in order to bring high-speed Internet to as many citizens as possible within the shortest period of time and based on the smartest investment path.

The pot at the end of the rainbow is so much more than just new broadband networks. According to BCG, the Gigabit Society will boost our GDP, enable business innovation and make society more inclusive. That is why getting broadband legislation right is so important not only for telcos, but for all European citizens.

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