LIVE FROM CONNECT BERLIN, GERMANY: Governments must quickly commit to plans and introduce measures to encourage investment if the European Commission (EC) is to achieve its goal of creating a Gigabit Society by 2025.
So warned Iris Henseler-Unger (pictured), MD of Germany-based consultancy WIK Henseler-Unger.
The Gigabit Society is an EC initiative covering a range of projects designed to expand the provision of high-speed and -capacity broadband services across businesses and residential properties in the EU.
Henseler-Unger said to achieve the EC’s aims, new connectivity regulations being drawn up must be finalised quickly and encourage competition and private investment.
“It’s important government and society makes a commitment. The Gigabit Society is expensive and ambitious,” she said, explaining preconditions must be set imminently if the goal of 2025 is to be met.
“The goal of a Gigabit Society cannot be achieved without competition,” Henseler-Unger added, adding while flexibility was important, “a regulatory relaxation must not have counterproductive effects on investment.”
The expert, who advised public and private sector organisations in Germany on infrastructure strategy, said the business case for high-quality fibre to enable gigabit connections was being driven by business demand.
This need ranges from industries developing IoT use cases and wireless operators looking to fibre to support backhaul for 5G.
She added current issues around return on investment for the provision of rural areas remained a major issue, which needed to be addressed through incentives and an appropriate Europe-wide framework.
Proposed changes to the European Electronic Communications Code rules, which were drawn up to support the EC’s Gigabit Society goals have been criticised in recent months by the GSMA and ETNO for reportedly hampering innovation.
Henseler-Unger was speaking during Connect Berlin – a conference held prior to Broadband World Forum this week and produced by fixed infrastructure company Adtran.