In ECTAs opinion, the answer is clear: only a vibrantly competitive market will ensure that: (i) the networks of the future will continue to be developed on schedule to meet demand, (ii) genuinely useful services continue to evolve, and (iii) affordability and hence take-up of services and applications will be guaranteed. Competition is the best driver of investment. For some people this might sound like just a slogan. However in the context of the discussions on the EU regulatory framework, it is essential to stress what really is at stake.
The view of ECTA members is that Europe should focus on providing citizens and professional end-users with the best choice and quality at affordable prices. As our world moves further online, the ICT sector is no longer about reducing costs or increasing productivity, it literally changes our daily lives and working experiences. For this digital ecosystem to work effectively, we need to get the right fixed and mobile infrastructures and services up and running to properly leverage the opportunities brought by digital innovation.
Innovation is what alternative operators are especially good at. highlighted Gijs Phoelich, Chairman of ECTA. In order to attract and retain customers, they need to be able to truly differentiate themselves, bring the wow factor which convinces the customer to switch to a better offer. Wholesale network access regulation has enabled the development of the most innovative products over the past 15+ years at affordable prices, thus spurring an exponential increase in broadband take-up and revenues. Regulatory policy should ensure that challenger operators continue to be able to play their role in fostering innovation for the benefits of end-users.
It is clear that while regulation, and in particular wholesale access regulation, is instrumental to enable competition by alternative operators, it has not reduced the level of investments by incumbent operators. stressed Luc Hindryckx, Executive Director of ECTA. As stated by BEREC in its report on Next Generation Access (NGA) in October 2016, the differences in NGA rollout in Member States can, to a large extent, be explained by factors which are largely exogenous to NRAs and regulation. A main factor identified is competition from other fixed network infrastructures In particular, FTTP rollout has often been initiated or mainly driven by alternative operators. ECTA members are also active investors in Very High Capacity Networks and support the Commissions plans to further facilitate competitive investment. The regulatory framework needs to be crafted in a manner in which all willing investors -large or small- can play a role. Therefore, it would be erroneous for policies to favour regulatory forbearance or premature deregulation aimed at incentivising the roll-out of networks by dominant operators.
With fit-for-purpose regulatory policies, ECTA members remain strongly engaged to meet the challenges of the digital age in all sectors of the economy, continue to act as a catalyst for investments, be investors themselves and to be in the drivers seat for innovative offers.
The discussions to shape the new European Electronic Communications Code are underway, and will be ongoing for the next 12 to 18 months. ECTA is firmly committed to actively contribute to the shaping of the EU regulatory framework going forward.
 e.g. faster broadband, multi-play offers, bigger mobile data bundles, better business services, etc.
 Fixed broadband take-up increased from 30% in 2005 to 72% of homes in 2015. Broadband revenues for the sector increased from 19 billion in 2005 to 46 billion in 2014 (data from the 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and Analysys Mason (2015) for ECTA, The digital single market and telecoms regulation going forward What Rules for Europe’s Digital Highways
 BEREC Report: Challenges and drivers of NGA rollout and infrastructure competition: Berec Report Challenges and Drivers of Nga Rollout and Infrastructure Competition
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