BEREC Chair emphasises the role of the fast roll-out of fibre networks in ensuring EU’s competitiveness and sustainability

11 May 2021

Focussing on how to speed up the fibre deployment in Europe, on 11 May 2021, BEREC Chair Michel Van Bellinghen gave a keynote speech at the “A Green and Digital Europe with Full-fibre: Opportunities, Challenges and Best Practices” webinar organised by ForumEurope. The event took place against the backdrop of the Connectivity Toolbox and the recommendations of best practices put forward to help facilitate the most efficient roll-out of very high-capacity networks, including full-fibre broadband. 

In his keynote speech, the BEREC Chair highlighted that the Recovery and Resilience Facility agreement as well as the development of the Connectivity Toolbox provided the perfect opportunity for  Member States to rework their National Digital Agendas and Broadband Plans to make them future-proof. In his speech, Michel Van Bellinghen also emphasised that BEREC will continue to prioritise its work to improve the general conditions for the expansion and take-up of secure, competitive and reliable high-capacity networks. BEREC Chair said: “The fast roll-out of fibre networks is a prerequisite for the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the EU. The pandemic and the Next Generation EU Fund play an impressive role in promoting a boom in supply and demand for digital services.”

During the webinar Michel Van Bellinghen also paid attention to the European Electronic Communications Code and the evolution of regulation. He stated that Europe is moving towards a regulatory framework with additional pieces of soft law, such as the Commission’s recommendations, the Connectivity Toolbox, the BEREC Guidelines and others. They have an effect on fostering full connectivity over the EU.  During the event the BEREC Chair noted that the telecom sector is looking forward to the review the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD) that is coming up. It aims at further improving the current measures by simplifying permits and procedures to reduce overall administrative burdens in the sector. In light of the planned review of the BCRD, BEREC already provided its Opinion to the Commission. It was based on the experience of its members, in particular as a dispute settlement body and single information point at the national level.  

Michel Van Bellinghen concluded his keynote speech touching upon the backhaul infrastructure as a key for enabling 5G and facilitating the deployment of high-speed networks, especially in non-densely populated areas. He informed that BEREC is currently preparing a snapshot on how backhaul is addressed in the market analysis performed by National Regulatory Authorities. BEREC also plans to provide guidance on how to apply any relevant provision regarding backhaul in light of the updated Recommendation on relevant markets and the Code in relation to the market analysis process. BEREC will organise a public consultation in October this year to consult with the stakeholders.