Last October, at the informal meeting in León, digital ministers highlighted the shift of traditional telecoms networks towards telco-edge infrastructures, signalling a convergence of connectivity and computing capacity. Despite the central role of telecom operators in leading the digital transition, the current economic setting, characterised by high inflation and low returns, presents challenges for the sector and its competitiveness.
At yesterday’s roundtable, the Commissioner underscored the importance of collaboration, stating that the ongoing evolution of networks present a unique opportunity for investors. Aligning policy goals with the prospect of injecting capital into low-risk, future-proof digital infrastructures could accelerate the achievement of the policy targets while yielding returns for private and public investors.
The participants of the roundtable highlighted the positive impact of regulatory certainty to attract private investments, the importance of reaching critical size and avoiding overbuild. They underlined also the importance of developing new use cases for the infrastructure to promote the adequate take up of advanced technologies, to ensure returns on investment. The participants also emphasised the need to improve access to capital markets and facilitate lending capacities of financial institutions, as well as the importance of building public-private partnerships to scale up investments and achieve greater flexibility. Finally, they welcomed a broader dialogue with the telco sector and institutional investors to see how investment in digital infrastructures can be pooled at EU level and support the entire digital value chain.
The outcomes of this discussion will serve as input for the development of a White Paper outlining a long-term vision and potential policy actions to encourage investments in digital infrastructure.