Prysmian Calls for EU to Abandon Technology Neutrality for Fiber Commitment

  • Prysmian Group
MILAN — Prysmian Group, a provider of energy and telecom cable systems, called on the European Commission to support the roll-out of optical fiber technologies in order to be consistent with its ambitions for the gigabit society, a position that implies moving on from the doctrine of technology neutrality in the long run.

The call was made in the European Parliament during a meeting of Members of the European Parliament with an interest in digital affairs, along with European Commission officials, industry representatives and technology journalists. With the Commission’s on-going efforts to revise the telecommunications framework providing the backdrop to the discussions and highlighting their relevance, the exchanges centered on the need to ensure the rapidly expanding demand for connectivity is met by appropriate investment in next generation telecom infrastructure.

“We need future-proof solutions that will match the rapidly expanding demand for data in Europe, and put us on an equal footing with our international competitors,” said MEP Massimiliano Salini. Meanwhile, MEP Emilian Pavel noted that “it is crucial that the Commission places the appropriate emphasis on modernizing the telecoms framework and creating favorable conditions for investment in next generation telecoms networks.”

Supporting the Transition to Fiber
An industry perspective was provided meanwhile by Jean-Pierre Bonicel, senior business development director at Prysmian Group, who presented the Group’s latest white paper on telecoms networks. He emphasized that the sustainable digitalization of society relied on the careful choice of high quality network components such as fiber, cable and connectivity. Intelligent choices in this domain are essential to ensuring that disruptions to the network are minimized and the end service is optimized. Furthermore he held that only optical fiber technologies had the capacity in the long run to meet the gigabit society’s demands, “While a period of transition to this new technology is of course understandable, the Commission and Member States should provide public support to optical fiber and genuinely future-proof solutions.”

Closing the Digital Divide in the EU
The event also provided the opportunity to present the findings of a new study by Wolter Lemstra, senior research fellow and telecoms specialist at TU Delft. The study found that a long-term increase in connection speeds could only be delivered through fiber optic networks. It cautioned that despite the liberalization of telecom markets, governments still have an important role to play in cases of market failure. Although leading European countries are performing well, attention must be paid to the digital laggards within the EU, with the aim of closing the gap between the top performers and the rest. Special attention is also needed for rural areas, where progress will require a bottom-up process, involving collaboration between government and users.


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