Consultation on electronic communications highlights need for reliable and resilient connectivity infrastructure

The Commission published the Summary of the results of the exploratory consultation on the future of the electronic communications sector, as well as the non-confidential versions of the received contributions.

Respondents identified in network virtualisation, open networks, and edge cloud the technological breakthroughs that will have the largest impact in the coming years. These technologies are expected to bring about a shift from traditional electronic communications networks to cloud-based, virtualised, software-defined networks, driving down costs, improving the resilience and security of networks and introducing new, innovative services, while transforming the ecosystem and business models.

These developments are also considered able to promote the digital single market, highlighting the need for reliable and resilient connectivity infrastructure, whilst the majority of the respondents consider that full integration of the market is hampered by the fragmentation of the sector. The majority, mostly companies and business organisations, welcomed more integration in the spectrum market and a more harmonised approach to spectrum management across the EU, including the need of addressing harmful interference from third countries at the EU-level. The views of respondents were not conclusive in relation to the issues of fairness to consumers and the fair contribution by all digital players.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “With the tech race taking place, we need cutting-edge networks that are up to the task in terms of transmission speed, storage capacity, edge/computing power and interoperability. Creating a true telecoms Single Market will be essential for this technology shift. We will redefine the DNA of our telecoms regulation to facilitate market consolidation, cut costs and red tape for a fast deployment of technologies, attract more – and more private – capital, and secure our networks.”

The exploratory consultation aimed at gathering views and identifying Europe’s needs in terms of connectivity infrastructure to lead the digital transformation. The Commission received 437 contributions to the consultation, which ran from 23 February to 19 May 2023. Under confidentiality requirements, the Commission has shared the replies to the consultation with the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC).