As an industry challenger Colt has always been a proponent of competition. So with a new leadership and strategy in place, we are very proud to have joined an industry association that champions increased competition.
Traditionally, ECTA (European Competitive Telecommunications Association – an association of challenger telcos across Europe) has focused on helping smaller providers access incumbents’ networks more quickly and efficiently, for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike. Although for the most part, the onus has been on consumer services and the mass market, Colt’s membership helps tip the scales more in the direction of the enterprise space.
As Gijs Phoelich, chairman of ECTA noted, business operators are serving increasingly demanding enterprises, and should be recognised as distinct from those serving mass-markets.
One area of keen interest for Colt, is helping ECTA drive the regulatory approach for business markets serving global enterprises that are increasingly expecting deep local expertise. Indeed, this is a key part of our own value proposition. Businesses demand global reach, but with a specialist local presence and corresponding knowledge of local rules, regulations and market conditions.
Furthermore, with the enterprise space largely driving the journey into high bandwidth territory as a result of the explosive adoption of cloud services, ECTA will seek the harmonisation of technical specificities for international business providers.
To date, the main vessel for this activity has been the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, which promotes competition by making it easier to access incumbents’ networks. Internally within Colt, we call this “off-net”. It’s largely thanks to this framework that most EU countries have a competitive market at all.
Today, however, most people are agreed that this framework needs some updating because it has done little to promote fibre investment. In an effort to address these concerns, a new proposal – dubbed the Electronic Communications Code – is now on the table and under negotiation within the Commission and Member State governments. The new Code will focus on opening incumbents’ ducts.
By getting access to ducts, Colt can lay its own fibre and incorporate it as part of its own network, without having to dig where there is already existing infrastructure. This is important for our high bandwidth strategy; when laying our own fibre we can choose any bandwidth or other specification we like, rather than being constricted by whatever we can buy off the shelf (and often at a premium) from the incumbent.
But it should be noted that Colt’s voice – thought important – is but one among many. ECTA plays an important role in ensuring our voice is heard as the new Code is developed, which will shape our industry for decades to come.