A quartet of associations representing Europe’s telecommunications industry hit out at a set of proposals which form part of the European Commission’s (EC) Gigabit Infrastructure Act (GIA), warning the legislation risks penalising operators and could hurt the sector. 

GIA was proposed by the EC in February 2023 to replace a 2014 broadband directive and is designed to minimise costs and administrative burdens in building high-speed network infrastructure including 5G and fibre to meet the region’s digital targets by 2030. 

In a joint statement, industry groups GSMA, ETNO, ECTA and GIGAEurope opposed EC’s position announced in December regarding ongoing negotiations about the act, arguing proposals will have “unintended consequences” if implemented in their current form. 

For example, the groups argue key measures that would help speed up network rollout are now being placed into doubt, such as so-called tacit approvals allowing for fibre installation when construction permits are not granted within a reasonable timeframe.

The industry bodies previously called for EC to speed up permit-granting processes.

The companies also argue “aggressive and unjustified price regulation in competitive markets for intra-EU communications” will hurt the “historic effort” to invest in gigabit networks. The proposal is linked to a directive to abolish intra-EU communications surcharge, which the companies previously warned could risk huge revenue loss. 

“Unless the original spirit of the EC proposal is preserved, the EU telecom industry believes that retaining current rules would be less damaging to network roll-out than implementing an ill-conceived regulation,” the statement read.