The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) has elected Eurofiber Group General Counsel and Company Secretary Gijs Phoelich as its new Chairman.

The industry body, which represents so-called challenger operators, said the appointment had been made as bottlenecks “still persist” in the last mile of the fixed broadband network and “strong and consistent” regulation is needed to inject competition and guarantee choice, innovation and affordability for end-users.

Martin Witt, CEO of internet specialist 1&1 Telecommunication, has been elected as Vice-Chairman.

2016 is a key year for telecoms regulation in Europe as key pillars of the Digital Single Market reform, notably around investment in broadband, are slated to be turned into legislation.

[Read more: European Parliament votes to end roaming charges, introduce net neutrality]

Phoelich said: “We have a year full of challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

“We collectively need to seize the opportunity to create a vibrantly competitive Digital Single Market that delivers first and foremost to end-users.

“The beauty of vibrant competition is that it is a win-win for all: the entire sector, investors as well as end-users benefit from an effectively competitive market.”

Witt added: “Business as usual is not an option when the risk of re-monopolisation by former telecoms monopolies is so serious and imminent.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that Europe does not slide back on competition. This is the most important task of the revision of the EU’s telecoms rules.”

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