“We Need to be Connected”: European Commission Proposes Ambitious Overhaul of EU Telecom Rules

The European Commission has proposed an overhaul of EU telecom rules, with new initiatives to meet Europeans' growing connectivity needs and boost Europe's competitiveness. These proposals are intended to encourage investment in very high-capacity networks and accelerate public access to Wi-Fi for Europeans.

INTUG fully supports the call for the Single Market. However, as always, we wish to make sure that any proposal by the Commission takes into account the specific needs of business users. In particular, we provide targeted input to the Commission on:

  • the ePrivacy Directive
  • GDPR (WG 29 of the Data protection authorities)
  • e-SIM cards
  • a Code of Conduct for software licenses (including our own proposal)
  • the proposal for the free flow of data
  • indoor coverage issues

EC proposal objectives

The approach proposed by the Commission in September 2016 includes three strategic connectivity objectives for 2025:

  • All main socio-economic drivers, such as schools, universities, research centers, transport hubs, all providers of public services such as hospitals and administrations, and enterprises relying on digital technologies, should have access to extremely high - gigabit - connectivity (allowing users to download/upload 1 gigabit of data per second).
  • All European households, rural or urban, should have access to connectivity offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to Gbps.
  • All urban areas as well as major roads and railways should have uninterrupted 5G coverage, the fifth generation of wireless communication systems. As an interim target, 5G should be commercially available in at least one major city in each EU Member State by 2020.

The Commission acknowledges that achieving these goals will require significant investments, and has proposed a new European Electronic Communications Code that should make it more attractive for companies to invest in new top-quality infrastructures.

"We need to be connected. Our economy needs it. People need it. And we have to invest in that connectivity now," said President Juncker during his 2016 State of the Union speech.

The Commission considers these investments to be necessary for the creation of a digital single market. “Connectivity is a key prerequisite for Europe's digital future: The Internet of Things, digitization of industry, cloud, big data – all this demands secure and ubiquitous connectivity, with the best speed and quality,” commented Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

You can read the Press Release from the European Commission, with greater details on the proposed Code, here.


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