CEOs call for faster Europe web speeds

19 July 2011

BRUSSELS: A group of European telecom CEOs have called on EU authorities to help their firms speed up the region's broadband connections.

In a new report, Vivendi's Jean-Bernard Levy, René Obermann from Deutsche Telekom and Ben Verwaayen from Alcastel-Lucent asked for regulations to be loosened to allow the telecoms to fund the €290 billion (£254, $407) necessary to upgrade fixed-line broadband networks across Europe.

The European Commission has set a target for homes in all member states to have a conection spead of 30Mbps or more by 2020.

To achieve this goal, the CEOs argue that the firms should be allowed to charge online content providers such as YouTube for delivering their bandwidth-heavy services to consumers.

This recommendation in particular has been opposed by groups that are supportive of "net neutrality".

"Europe needs healthy companies willing and capable to invest," the CEOs' report stated. "Players who add value should be stimulated by the right incentives."

Verwaayen added: "If we have the present situation continuing, we will not meet the [European Commission] targets."

The 2020 goals have been set in an attempt to bring Europe into line with broadband speeds found in other parts of the world; most notably Japan, South Korea and the US.

Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for telecoms, encouraged the development of the report in an effort to find consensus on broadband investment between telecom providers, equipment manufacturers and technology companies.

But the commissioner decided not to endorse the final report.

Data sourced from Financial Times/MarketWatch; additional content by Warc staff