Opening speech at the Fiber-to-the-Home conference, London

”First of all, new services, innovations and information flows must grow, flourish and create economic growth without being dependent on technological speeds and capacities of the past.

Secondly, Europe needs to raise its game and ambitions if we are going to reap the benefits of the new digital revolution.

Thirdly, Europe must talk less about megabytes and more about gigabytes.”

Gunnar Hökmark – Opening speech at the Fiber-to-the-Home conference, London

20 February 2013

Checked against delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very glad to be here today to present my views on why Europe needs a real

push for the deployment of ultrafast broadband. I have three messages to deliver

here today.

First of all, new services, innovations and information flows must grow, flourish and

create economic growth without being dependent on technological speeds and

capacities of the past.

Secondly, Europe needs to raise its game and ambitions if we are going to reap the

benefits of the new digital revolution.

Thirdly, Europe must talk less about megabytes and more about gigabytes.

It took us 30 years from Thomas Alva Edison’s invention of the electric bulb until we

started to turn the lights downwards. The mindset of the candle light still kept us

captured in the same way as cars and trains for a long time looked like horse

carriages. Most new products or inventions use the design and logic of the past

simply because our perceptions about the future are based on our experiences from

the past.

Our minds and understanding about the future have been shaped by the last 30

years. That’s why we underestimate the pace and magnitude of change and

overvalue the structures of the past

We still talk about emerging economies although they already have emerged. In

Sweden we still talk about the Swedish car industry although it is mainly Chinese.

We still talk about the US as the number one economy although European Union

thanks to enlargements and the internal market is de facto the world’s biggest

economy. We still take it for granted that we are leading prosperity and welfare

levels although the current crisis suggests that we are leading the global crisis.

The emergence of telecoms follows the same pattern regarding the 30 years delay.

We still talk about distributing and coordinating frequencies every 4th year in the

framework of the International Teleunion, although the market is changing so much

faster. Our logic and understanding about the future in telecoms sometimes still

seems to be based in a time when an International call was more exciting than

Christmas.

If we look at the development over the last 30 years we have seen a new rapid

emergence of telecoms connecting the world in a pace that no one could have

believed, with capacities that no one would have dared to plan for and with services