London: Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA, offered the following statement regarding Europe’s need to stay focused on reducing the cost of high-speed broadband deployment to drive growth:
“We welcome the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on reducing the cost of broadband roll-out and see this as an important step forward. While fixed broadband access is prevalent in most of Europe, mobile broadband infrastructure is now as important to a country’s economy as its energy grid or transportation network – it is essential to help drive growth, increase employment, stimulate innovation and improve sustainability across all sectors of the EU economy. The GSMA is now calling for two key actions: a more efficient process for granting base station permits and affordable spectrum pricing for mobile operators.
“For example, broadband-induced innovation could create two million extra jobs by 2020, while a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration could result in annual GDP growth of 1-1.5 per cent1. Reducing the cost and enhancing the efficiency of deployment are critical for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
“However, conditions for granting permits for base stations that mobile operators are required to install for national coverage currently vary considerably from one European country to another. This is exacerbated by a general trend across Europe towards increasing delays in securing base station licenses. In many EU Member States, it still takes on average one year to receive all permits required to deploy the antennas of a single base station, due to excessive bureaucracy, lack of co-operation between governments and operators and politically driven localised barriers to installation.
“Beyond the Commission’s proposal there is one key area that still requires urgent attention: spectrum pricing. It is vital that we address the costs of broadband roll-out but paying for spectrum usage rights represents a significant part of operators’ total investment in deploying high-speed mobile internet. Spectrum fees should be defined to realise the long-term economic value of spectrum to the economy as a whole, not to maximise short-term revenue for governments.
“The GSMA is calling for a consistent, streamlined approach to broadband policy for the deployment of high-speed internet facilities, including general and clear rules for granting base station permissions at national level. The uptake of digital technologies and services facilitated by fast internet is a prerequisite for growth. It is therefore essential for Europe to stay focused on all initiatives that aim to eliminate the current obstacles to high-speed broadband roll-out to make way for recovery and sustained growth across the region.”
Notes to Editors
1Source: European Commission’s Single Market Act II Communication
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries and territories, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
For the GSMA:
Aneta Szczyglowska (Brussels)
+32 (0)2 894 90 10
GSMA Press Office