Europe’s leading telcos have unveiled a new initiative called Make the Net Work as they to look to drive the debate around reform of the telecoms market.

Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Liberty Global, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, TeliaSonera and Vodafone have clubbed together to “speak with one voice” and engage “positively” with bodies including the European Commission, the European Parliament as well as other stakeholders.

Make the Net Work said the networks they “design, build and operate” are “essential” for Europe’s digital economy to function.

The telcos said they plan to invest €150 billion in research and capital expenditure in Europe over the next five years and are committed to three key tenets:

  • Maintaining an open Internet and to treating providers of similar content and services in a non-discriminatory manner, provided that they are legally and fairly offered according to Europe’s laws.

  • Providing a range of services at different levels of quality and price, in order that all sectors of European industry can maximise their commercial opportunities from advanced services, and to providing affordable Internet services for consumers to help eliminate the digital divide.

  • Protecting our customers’ privacy and security, providing the best possible safeguard to European citizens and the assets and information of European enterprises.

The launch of Make the Net Work comes just weeks after the new intake of European commissioners was sworn in.

Gunther Oettinger is in charge of the Digital Economy, while Andrus Ansip in has the brief for the Digital Agenda and the Connected Continent reform package.

They have been charged with breaking down national silos in telecoms regulation, copyright and data protection, spectrum and competition law by President Jean-Claude Juncker. Net neutrality is another key area being debated.

Last week, Ansip hosted the first high-level meeting between all the Digital Single Market (DSM) Commissioners in which he said they aim to come up with “a fully developed DSM strategy” by May 2015.

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