Fibre to enable Europe’s 5G ambition

FTTH Council hosts debate about investments in 5G infrastructure at European Parliament

The FTTH Council Europe recently organised a lunch debate hosted by MEP Michal Boni in the European Parliament. This debate focussed on Europe’s 5G ambition and investments in 5G enabler infrastructure, while also presenting the latest FTTH market data on where Europe stands in global comparison on fibre deployment and penetration.

Very high-capacity networks like 5G will be a key asset for Europe to compete in the global market and indispensable for European innovation across all business sectors. 5G is expected to enable industrial transformation through wireless broadband services provided at very high speeds, low latency and the capability to handle a large number of connected devices simultaneously as well as enhancing quality of life for example via online health monitoring.

The capability of the future 5G networks to deliver on this transformational promise crucially depends on the enabling optical fibre infrastructure. This places an enormous responsibility on policy makers across the EU: policies should incentivise fibre deployment in order to have performant, best in class wireless networks.

Ronan Kelly, the President of the FTTH Council Europe, said, “Our vision is that fibre connectivity – the enabler of fixed and wireless Gigabit networks - will transform and enhance the way we live, do business and interact, connecting everyone and everything, everywhere. Already now, we see that the huge increases in mobile data traffic is causing congestion in backhaul networks. If we want to realise the full potential of advanced 5G services, from smarter cities to health applications, FTTH rollout must be strongly encouraged. There is not much point in having Gigabit capacity and single digit millisecond latency if you cannot backhaul it on a fibre network, as it is the only fixed network capable to guarantee such levels of services.”

“We support an open and well informed debate on investments in 5G enablement, fibre infrastructure and the regulatory measures and policies needed to foster those investments. The future generation of wireless networks will rely ever more on fixed fibre networks so Europe needs a clear fibre first strategy if it wants to be a leader on 5G,” added Erzsebet Fitori, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe.

The participants of the event discussed inter alia where Europe stands in global comparison on fibre deployment and penetration (FTTH Market Panorama and European and global FTTH ranking), what policy approach is needed to foster 5G investments and enable a new wave of digital innovation in Europe.

The lunch debate’s announced speakers included:

- Alf Karlsson, Swedish State Secretay, Ministry of Entreprise and Innovation

- Sebastien Soriano, BEREC Chair 2017 and President, ARCEP

- Mart Võrklaev, Rapporteur, Telecoms Package, Committee of Regions

- Philipp Malloch, Vice-President/Head of Group Public Affairs, Telia Company

- Markus Reinisch, Group Public Policy Director, Global, Vodafone

- Roland Montagne, Principal Analyst Director Market Development, IDATE DigiWorld

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