Tallin – Gigabit Society

First of all, I want to thank vary warmly my colleagues from the Estonian Presidency for organising this informal meeting at the beginning of the term. It is crucial to have the joint framework for the common work on the Gigabit society challenges and 5G Action Plan implementation, which also means the collaborative work on the European Electronic Communication Code.

The exchange of views between all partners: representatives of Member States, the European Commission, representatives of the European Parliament is key for the future success. The voice of business is also important, because we are discussing about the new business models requiring new large scale investments.


How to define the future success of the 5G in Europe?

5G is more than mobile revolution. It will be an innovation engine creating the new quality networks – Very High Capacity Networks, bringing disruptive change across all industries, developing business models aimed at the improved, much more personalised services addressed to the people. The infrastructure becomes an enabler  – as it provides the new connectivity opportunities. It is the best background for the possible, incoming European competitive advantages. We can achieve those competitive advantages only together, as all members of the European Union. It means – in some areas we have to overcome the fragmentation, which undermines the Digital Single Market.


What is the most important?

  1. To understand the unbelievable advantages of 5G project to our citizens. The new governance rules for the smart cities and transportation (millions of simultaneously connected “Internet of Things” sensors) will make the life of the cities residents more convenient. The new possibilities for e-health development thanks to the milliseconds transfers of big data will make the medical services more efficient and personalised, which is important for the well-being of people. The new opportunities for the education due to full accessibility of the open educational sources in the fast way will create the chances for educational adjustment to the new labour requirements in the era of robotics. It is our duty to respond to those needs and expectations of people. If we will loose those opportunities, we loose the chance as continent to build our competitive advantages for the coming future. And we will loose our citizens better life.
  2. To take the responsibility for support the economic transformation in all areas, which will bring benefits for agriculture by using e-farming tools, for the transportation systems by using the connected cars, for the energy efficiency governance, which is key for the Paris Agreement goals, for the new, convergent media development with full, legal access to cultural heritage and qualified information. It will be possible, if now – we (all partners) will start the common work on the interoperability issues, standardisation needed to join sectoral solutions with 5 G ( backed by industrial user experiments), defined as Very High Capacity Networks ready to exploit any available wireless resources (from Wi-Fi to 4 G) and optical fibre, also all possibilities specific for some territories as cable, satellite signal, the old copper solutions after modernisation. This is the work for our countries – to prepare the new version of the National Broadband Plans and to have the strategies for 5 G. As Germany has, as Sweden has, as Poland and Baltic states are working on. If we will loose the agenda, we will loose the solution.
  3. To incentivise the investments – key for 5G development. It requires: the common, pan-European framework related to the issues of longer duration of licenses – the same in all EU countries, transparent and not burdensome rules for co-investment schemes, the new relations between the competitiveness and the infrastructure growth, as – the infrastructure based competition model, and – the transparent, coordinated, flexible, efficient and effective mechanism of use of the spectrum.  What is essential: to make the mobile and 5G networks market more predictable, with legal certainty and investment stability. This is the game in the longer and deeper perspective with significantly stronger consequences, than all decisions done by Member States until now at the time of 2/3/4 G. If we will loose the time, we will loose the opportunities.
  4. To play together in spectrum It is the most challenging issue. We need to have timely made decisions on spectrum allocation on the one hand, on the other – proper for the European deployment of 5G. It requires to enhance consistency and proportionality in authorisation procedures, to prevent cross-border interferences, to be open for the debate on the trading and leasing of spectrum (which could create the secondary spectrum market), to help to establish better pricing for spectrum in auctions. It is clear, that we need to solve the problem: how to organise the inter-institutional cooperation on  spectrum allocation (what is the role of our countries, what is the role of NRA, what is the position of BEREC, what is the role of the RSPG, how the model of peer review should look like). It should be organised: on totally voluntary basis, on voluntary basis with recognition of some common objectives and terms as references points, on obligatory basis – which is difficult for the Member States. The goal is – to make more spectrum available in a timely and predictable manner, with encouraging the front-runners and supporting peer-learning, clear rules for spectrum management: predictability, openness, transparency, non-discrimination. And with understanding that we need the combination of bands to make 5G real.  The step by step common work and efforts are needed. We need to take not only one decision, 5G ( spectrum) will require the set of decisions done in adequate time in the perspective of coming 2/3years – it will be the process.  I hope – that Estonian presidency has all instruments to start this process. We need the strong leadership to achieve common 5G objectives. Openly speaking, it is not clear who would be the best leader with full acceptance on the Member States side. So, we need to have the facilitator of the process of coordinated actions for spectrum allocation done properly and timely. Politically speaking – the Estonian Presidency could play this role as the facilitator.  If we will loose the possibility to have the leadership or facilitationship for spectrum allocation, we will loose the concept of 5 G. We will have to say to our citizens : bye, bye 5 G!!!
  5. To go forward – as Member States, as the European Union – in the area of digital issues, because it is crucial for all of us – as European citizens, as European nations. But it means: that the collaboration and cooperation should be used as the vehicle to achieve all goals. All stakeholders should be invited. All proposals should be considered and analysed from the merit perspective. This is the only way to overcome fragmentation of decisions and solutions and to start the 5G Action Plan implementation – which is precisely described in the timetable. We need to fulfil all deadlines, and the deadlines should not to become deadlocks. This is the only way – to indicate in cooperation: what should be done first, what kind of the next steps are crucial, what results of the Gigabit society implementation can we imagine in the short, mid and long term perspective.


Michal Boni, MEP

18th July, 2017