'5G Manifesto' diverts net neutrality regulation in Europe

Telecoms in Europe are preparing to roll out 5G networks by 2020 which has in turn sparked a new debate over net neutrality across the continent.

On July 7, 20 telecoms including Vodafone, Telenor, Orange, Nokia, BT, Ericsson, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchinson and others banded together to form a coalition which drafted a seven page document titled: “5G Manifesto for timely deployment of 5G in Europe.”

The document was signed by executives from the telecoms and it clearly outlines the key advantages to adopting 5G. The end goal would be to have 5G demonstrated on a large scale by 2018 with a plan to launch the technology commercially in at least one city in every country in the EU by the year 2020. However, the manifesto also tries to warn governments about the potential dangers that could arise from over-regulation of the open internet.

The document states: “The telecom Industry warns that the current Net Neutrality guidelines, as put forward by BEREC, create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment. Investments are therefore likely to be delayed unless regulators take a positive stance on innovation and stick to it.”

The danger of restrictive net neutrality rules are also brought up in the document as : “5G introduces the concept of “Network Slicing” to accommodate a wide-variety of industry verticals’ business models on a common platform, at scale and with services guarantees.”

The European Commission's digital chief, Günther Oettinger welcomed the manifesto, saying: “These will help us focus on the key levers to ensure European digital leadership in 5G.

"The manifesto is a valuable input for the 5G action plan that will be presented in September, together with the proposal for the review of the telecom regulatory framework.”

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