Ola Bergström, Director for International Affairs, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority – PTS, gives an interview at ETNO-MLex Summit 2014.
ETNO has been the voice of Europe’s telecommunications network operators since 1992 and has become the principal policy group for European electronic communications network operators. Its 50 members and observers in 35 countries collectively account for a turnover of more than 600 billion euros and employ over 1.6 million people. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe.
ETNO members are pan-European operators, also holding new entrant positions outside their national markets. ETNO brings together the main investors in innovative and high-quality e-communications platforms and services, representing 70% of total sector investment.
ETNO closely contributes to shaping the best regulatory and commercial environment for its members to continue rolling out innovative and high quality services and platforms for the benefit of European consumers and businesses.
ETNO is working closely with the European Commission and BEREC in order to contribute to the development of a targeted and flexible regulatory environment for e-communications services and networks. ETNO is ensuring that rules are implemented in a way that encourages private investment, takes into account increasing competition and allows for new business models to emerge while at the same time guarantees innovation and consumer choice.
Access to innovative online content is a key driver for consumers to embrace take up. Ensuring a truly single market for legitimate online content has therefore been highlighted as one of the key priorities of the Digital Agenda. Through its Digital Single Market Working Group, ETNO is calling for facilitating access to online legitimate content as the best way to fight against piracy. ETNO members throughout Europe are putting together innovative content offers, including IP TV, music or video downloads. They are also engaged in voluntary education campaigns to raise awareness against piracy.
Providing universal coverage of basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 is one of the key targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe. ETNO members have significantly contributed to broadband roll-out in Europe and are actively involved in public-private partnerships to bring high speed connectivity to nondensely populated areas, through a mix of fixed and mobile technologies and platforms. ETNO strongly believes that in today’s liberalised telecoms markets, the roll out of broadband networks should be primarily driven by the private sector. Public funds should complement private sector efforts, by focusing on remote and rural areas where commercial investments are not feasible. ETNO also insists on the key role that public authorities can play by reducing the costs linked to civil works and encouraging demand.
Making additional radio spectrum available is essential to address the rapidly increasing mobile traffic and to provide broadband to rural and remote areas. The adoption by the EU’s Council of Telecoms Ministers of the first Radio Spectrum Policy Programme for 2012-2015 (RSPP) will help reaping the benefits of the Digital Agenda and boost EU competitiveness.
The proposal to harmonise the release of the 800 MHz band (the Digital Dividend) for electronic communications services by 1 January 2013 across the EU will help to provide broadband and social inclusion in all European Member States and stimulate economic growth and competitiveness within the EU. The assessment of the needs for additional frequency bands suitable for electronic communication services. This could further help to provide lower-cost broadband coverage in remote and rural areas, as well as in indoor environments.
Back in 1996, ETNO launched its Environment and Sustainability Charter, demonstrating its members’ commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. Thanks to measures to optimize energy consumption of their networks and data centres and increased use of renewable energy, ETNO members managed to continue reducing their CO2 emissions. The ETNO bi-annual Sustainability Report monitors progress made by the 22 signatories of the ETNO Sustainability and Environmental Charter that is open to all players on the market. The signatories of the Charter account globally for a turnover of about 200 billion euros. Thanks to their efforts to improve energy efficiency, ETNO Charter signatories have been continuously reducing their CO2 emissions despite a significant increase in overall energy demand due to growing mobile and data traffic. ETNO launched its Corporate Responsibility Charter which reflects the new challenges ahead and increasing engagement of ETNO members in new areas such as minor protection online and supply chain management.
ETNO members share the Commission objective of increasing trust and confidence as one of the key conditions for users to embrace high speed broadband and hence, to achieve the targets of the Digital Agenda.
The review of the data protection legal framework is the main focus of the ETNO Data Protection, Trust and Security Working Group. ETNO members have reiterated their commitment to Europe’s high standards for privacy and data protection and have asked that any new provisions do not hamper innovation and the development of new products/services (eg Cloud Computing). ETNO has called on the European Commission to seize the opportunity of the review to ensure a global level playing field for all actors processing personal data of EU citizens, regardless of their geographic location.
ETNO is also monitoring the implementation and closely following the upcoming revision of the EU Data Retention Directive. In the context of the legislative review process currently underway, GSMA and ETNO have produced a set of briefing papers on issues that are important for the telco sector. Each paper identifies the issue and impact and puts forward some policy considerations.
As a sector member of the International Telecommunications Unions, ETNO closely follows the activities of the ITU in fields such as standardisation or climate change. ETNO, through its ITU WOrking Group also participates in the preparatory work leading to ITU world conferences such as the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-12) and the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12).