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Europe tries to look busy on next gen telecoms

Europe 5G graphic

There has been a flurry of blogs, announcements and initiatives from Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, that all imply European progress in next generation telecoms technology.

But as is often the way with the EU super-bureaucracy, scratch under the surface of an apparent great leap forward and what is revealed is merely one more incremental step in a long and protracted process.

The EU’s press team send out an alert yesterday announcing Oettinger “…will hold a press point with German Minister Alexander Dobrindt, responsible for Transport and Digital Infrastructure. They will discuss initiatives to expand high-speed broadband networks in the EU and Germany.” Telecoms.com, of course, was all over it, but all that transpired was a video recording of the two speaking in German.

Oettinger did subsequently blog on the matter of “First concrete results on a ‘Digitising European Industry’ action plan”. But this made no reference a new European high-speed broadband network and was in fact a massive roundtable meeting that was itself a follow-up on previous roundtables. Things seemed to go well, with the blog announcing “The outcome of our discussions is a broad agreement around the proposed concrete actions.”

Even then Oettinger refused to put his feet up and got to work sending a letter to the chief execs of Europe’s ten largest telecoms groups, requesting they meet him to discuss how to make Europe a leader in 5G, according to the FT. Among the things to be discussed were how to encourage strategic investments and the need to create a 5G action plan. Oettinger was apparently moved to tweet on the day of the meeting, but offered only a link to the above graphic.

The ultimate impression is of a flurry of meetings, statements of intention and future diary dates set but little of material consequence actually achieved. Perhaps they’ll cover that at the next meeting.


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