Getting the telecoms industry flustered – Kroes must be doing something right

cc Håkan Dahlström Flickr

cc Håkan Dahlström Flickr

Must confess I do have a slight crush. It is on Neelie Kroes. While I’m not even being completely politically faithful to the sister party of Radikale Venstre (D66 ) at least it stays within ALDE.  So I may not be completely unbiased when praising the initiatives taken by the Commission on regulating the telecoms market and working to get rid of roaming in the EU.

But am aware that Neelie Kroes has been critised lately for letting go on net neutrality. D66’s Marietje Shaake ask for a detailed proposal for ensuring net neutrality at a hearing she held together with Access, and MEP Sabine Verheyen, and the recognised internet politics blog La Quatrature de Net critised Neelie Kroes. See their summary of the exchanges.  Kroes blogged in response that she does defend an open and neutral net. This is a debate that needs to be discussed in depth. But back to the telecoms…

Neelie Kroes was commissioner for one of if not the most hard hitting and important Directorate-Generals, the Competition DG before she became responsible for getting the EU connected and promoting the digital agenda. She launched earlier this year an ambitious telecoms market plan.

We need a connected Europe. We need a single market also for online and communications. A single market to the benefit the consumers and not just the big companies, so when the big telecoms companies are “putting in emergency calls”  moaning and groaning. I think Neelie Kroes has gotten hold of something right.

Nationally in Denmark, Dansk Erhverv is in Jyllands-Posten today, encouraging the Danish government to continue their efforts in ensuring competition between broad band providors. For the good for the consumers and small companies. A functioning infrastructure is essential for a functioning society. It is not only the visible and more tangible infrastructue such as railways and highways, but also our digital infrastructure.

So please make sure you stand strong while you continue to meet with telecoms this week and don’t let them “shift blame for their poor operational performances to the regulators” while of course we need to maintain incentives to invest in infrastructure. Let them deal with their grief over loosing their cashcow without letting the consumers pay the price.

If you do fail. The European Parliament must take the last stand for Europe and ensure a market that works for consumers and small companies.

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Karen Melchior

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