East Midlands Conservative MEP Andrew Lewer’s recommendations on EU plans for a Europe-wide Gigabit Society were given the seal of approval this week.
The plans include the commercial introduction of 5G next year and to all urban areas by 2025 along with 100Mbps download speeds for all homes.
Presenting his report and suggested a framework to the EU REGI (Regional Development) Committee, Andrew highlighted the need to:
· avoid EU centralisation and leave control of telecom industries to national authorities
· strike the right regulatory balance to ensure Europe remains an investment-friendly environment
· provide incentives for telecoms companies to invest such as in longer licensing periods
· accept the challenges that geography can present to mobile internet coverage but encourage 3G and 4G rollout in rural areas to address the growing urban-rural divide.
Speaking on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group, Andrew said his report had relevance for the whole of Europe – not just the EU, provided a useful framework for investment and important messages for potential investors.
“This agreement gives investors the business environment they need to catch up to Eastern Asia and America 5G coverage. It also guards against over-centralisation and bureaucratic solutions to what should be a market-driven process.”
He added: “We remain ambitious about 5G, the internet and broadband connectivity, but we now include a note of realism between what can be delivered in urban and in more rural areas.”
The EU Commission estimates the 5G plan will cost an extra 150 billion Euros over the next decade.