Global Forum 2013 – DRIVING THE DIGITAL FUTURE, Opportunities for Citizens and Businesses






I was looking forward to speaking at this event but I have to be in the USA next year.

This 22nd edition of the Global Forum is co-organized with the Foundation Stock Weinberg and the Sophia Antipolis Foundation

Operating since 1992, the Global Forum/Shaping the Future is as an independent, high profile, international, non-for-profit think-tank dedicated to Business and Policy issues affecting the successful evolution of the Digital Society. Evolving agenda HERE

Among the topics this year are Incentive for Investment, Cross-Boundaries Services Challenges, Broadband/4G Infrastructures,  Evolving Mobile Technologies. These are relevant considering the the Digital single market. Here are some thoughts which balance Open systems, infrastructure investments , innovation and growth.

The goals of  the single market are : “In the face of the deep crisis affecting its economy and society, Europe needs to tap into new sources of growth in areas that will reinforce its competitiveness, drive innovation and create new job opportunities.”

So, it’s a question of balancing investments (public and private) to create a viable ecosystem to create growth

An analogy is sustainable forest management

The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.

In simpler terms, the concept can be described as the attainment of balance – balance between society’s increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity. This balance is critical to the survival of forests, and to the prosperity of forest-dependent communities.

So, if we take an ecosystem perspective to achieve a balance for infrastructure, investment, innovation and growth – we have to consider that any finite resource – whether forestry, spectrum, capital investment etc would behave the same.

So, considering a Pan European perspective to create investment, growth and jobs for the Telecoms sector – we need to compare markets where investments have worked.

According to the CTIA  – Since 2000, wireless providers invested more than $296 billion, not including the more than $35 billion in spectrum auction revenues paid to the U.S. government.

So, if spectrum is considered as the limited resource to drive investments, growth and jobs – the question is – how to encourage additional investment (beyond the cost of the spectrum) to create more growth and jobs

Comparing to the American market, we need

a)      More flexibility to reduce the market fragmentation. This means fluidity in the secondary markets (allowing trading, aggregating etc)

b)      Harmonizing spectrum by creating a more homogenous footprints across European markets

c)       Within guidelines – encourage long term ownership for companies who have proven that they see the buying of spectrum only as a first step. To compare to the CTIA stats – the follow on investment of 296 Billion$ is more than 8 times the license (35billion $). This shows commitment beyond the fee (and discourages short term speculators

In other words, any long term investments have some basic fundamental truths – and they apply to forestry and spectrum in the same way

I will probably blog about this event findings after I am back from the USA