Transatlantic Week: Accelerating the Digital Economy

Transatlantic Week: Accelerating the Digital Economy


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By Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs

Last week, the Transatlantic Policy Network held its fourth annual Transatlantic Week here in Washington, D.C. devoted to developing ideas on how to drive economic growth in the U.S. and EU. Given the economic climate of the past several years, we want to do all we can to move our economies forward and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

During the Transatlantic Week Welcome Session, I had the opportunity to discuss the importance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and U.S.-EU economic cooperation. A comprehensive trade and investment agreement has the potential to bring the U.S. and EU even closer together, but it’s important we get the policies right to guide market forces and encourage investment.

Because our industry is global in nature, a trade agreement between the EU and U.S. is integral to the IT and communications sector. Communications technologies are driving job growth and our industry will continue to be at the center of how we respond to economic challenges. I’m encouraged that leaders in the U.S. and EU continue to explore ways to foster increased investments in next generation communications infrastructure and drive the digital economy.

But to realize the full potential of the digital economy, we need to get the relationship between innovation and regulation right. To further encourage investments in our industry and to foster innovation, economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness, we need to:

  • craft future-focused regulatory frameworks that do not lock our customers into old technologies or extend monopoly-era regulations to next-generation technologies;
  • implement spectrum policies designed to foster investment and best serve customers, and
  • foster a seamless digital market among the European Member States as well as between the EU and the US.

It’s important to recognize that technology changes much faster than regulation. The U.S.’s wireless success is due in no small measure to its longstanding recognition that a light touch approach to wireless regulation best promotes competition, innovation and investment. As a result, U.S. consumers have a vast array of choices of wireless products, services, devices and providers.

We have the opportunity to learn from each other if we focus on what brings us together. T-TIP can be another step in the evolution of our relationship. It is necessary to unleash job creation and it will benefit both economies greatly. As transatlantic partners we have a lot of work ahead of us but the rewards will be worth the effort.

 

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