Articles by Franck Thomas on the GC Blog and GC analysis
“No equipment supplier, including Huawei, should, or may, be specifically excluded from 5G roll-out”. These words come from Jochen Homann, the president of the German telecom regulator. This statement was interpreted by many in the media as a concession to Huawei and evidence of Europe’s more measured approach to 5G infrastructure than the US. However, the initiatives taken by authorities both at EU and national levels in Europe give much less comfort for Huawei and other non-European providers than these public statements suggest. Homann’s declaration should be seen as an attempt to de-escalate the controversy and reassure telecoms operators, as they are bidding for 5G spectrum in Germany. This reaction is another episode in a long running debate over Huawei. How did the Chinese firm end up in the firing line?
The use of big data to drive machine learning and artificial intelligence will transform the way people live and work and the way economies function. In making a national strategy for AI, policymakers will have to weigh priorities that span everything from workplace regulation to industrial policy. What should a national strategy for AI look like? Is one even possible given the wide terrain and pace of change.
British retailer Dixons Carphone reported on Tuesday that ten million customers may have been affected by a cyber-attack. This is yet another example of the privacy breaches that are affecting every day operations of European companies. The Dixons Carphone incident follows other major cyber-attacks. The WannaCry and NotPetya attacks led to substantial financial losses for firms across France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
A distinctive feature of President Juncker’s “political” European Commission was a single set of collective top-down priorities, rather than a stitching together of the agendas of individual commissioners. In 2014, this meant a focus on economic reforms to restore growth lost during the 2008 financial crisis: a digital single market, a capital markets union and an investment plan for Europe. Events inevitably challenged this strategy — an unprecedented refugee crisis, Brexit, the emergence of new security threats — but it proved more resilient than many expected at the outset of the “last chance” Commission.
Back in 2016, with the Digital Single Market agenda still in its infancy, the European Commission launched its ambitious reform of telecoms regulation. The so-called European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) was presented with great fanfare and with the explicit goal of plugging Europe’s €155 billion investment gap in digital infrastructure. The ultimate aim of the proposal was to provide high speed connectivity at lower prices to European consumers, a prerequisite to ensure the political acceptability of any reform in Brussels.