Telecoms key to completing digital single market

As Europe moves towards an internet-based economy, EU policymakers need to develop a single market without digital borders.

By William Louch

20 Nov 2015

Over the last 20 years technology has irrevocably changed the way we live our lives; affecting the way we shop, communicate and do business.

As Europe moves towards an internet-based economy, regulation must keep pace. The EU’s digital single market strategy, building on the concept of a common market, aims to eliminate barriers to online trade and improve access to online information and content while safeguarding privacy and personal data.

Telecoms will play a key role in completing the digital single market, something the European Parliament’s report “towards a digital single market” notes.


Kaja Kallas, ALDE MEP and Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the file believes “telecommunications networks are a big part of a functioning digital single market, as infrastructure is the backbone of the digital future.”

She highlights the need for a functioning single market that “will create more opportunities for start-ups, businesses and citizens,” although she notes that “the fact we are paying roaming surcharges and some member states don’t have net neutrality go against the idea of a single market.”

Andrejs Mamikins, from the S&D group, believes that “everyone deserves qualitative and affordable access to the mobile network.”

He cites the abolition of roaming costs as “the first step on the way to this,” as “citizens would be more willing to use mobile services if there were lower costs.”

He continues, “the logic is very simple – higher qualitative service availability would lead to a higher intensity of mutual member-state integration through closer ties between our citizens and companies.”

However, he notes that abolishing intra-EU roaming could “lead to much higher prices for calls to other world regions,” although he says that the issue can be resolved to “the benefit of the end-consumers and, consequently, the European economy as a whole.”

The S&D shadow rapporteur for the digital single market report, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, highlights the importance of improving internet access, saying “one cannot emphasise enough the need for all Europeans from all regions having access to the internet.”

She thinks improving the quality of and increasing access to the internet are the most important factors in bridging “the digital divide” which “limits the possibility of more effective e-governance.”

Pilar del Castillo Vera, Parliament’s rapporteur on the last telecoms package report, said Parliament’s adoption of the regulation on a telecom single market was “an important, and necessary step towards the development of a single market without digital borders.”

On the scheduled abolition of roaming charges she said the EU has eliminated an “overdue tax and has torn down a barrier for thousands of businesses and start-ups that try to seize all the opportunities the single market has to offer.”

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