On Monday, I had opportunity to kick-off the Transatlantic Policy Network’s (TPN) third annual Transatlantic Week in Washington, D.C. The TPN aims to strengthen both political and economic ties between the EU and the US. This year’s theme is “Challenges Ahead: Transatlantic Jobs & Growth” and AT&T was proud to be one of two sponsors for this important discussion.
Transatlantic Week comes at a time when the US and EU are already focusing on the benefits of working together to reduce friction in our trade and regulatory regimes. Today, we face a number of common challenges: Our economies are struggling, while other economies are emerging as economic power-houses, and all of this is happening in a period of rapid technological and social change.
Just as the IT and communications sector have been driving productivity in our economies for the last decade, communications technology will be at the center of how we respond to these common challenges. And, so it’s vital we understand the relationship between innovation and regulation, and that we get it right.
Over the past five years, AT&T’s wireless data traffic has grown 20,000 percent. The growth of mobile data traffic is a global phenomenon. Cisco estimates global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between by 2016 when more than 10 billion devices will be connected to wireless networks – exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.3 billion).
These trends of increased mobility and virtualization are key to efficiency and productivity, and companies on both sides of the Atlantic are looking to these network-based solutions to drive economic growth and recovery. And they are looking to the transatlantic market to be a market without borders. Delivering new communications capabilities requires enormous private sector capital, so we need a policy framework that not only makes investments in innovation possible, but also rewards and protects those investments.
Unnecessary regulation is a concern the US and the EU share, so working together to create sound and effective policy must be our common objective. A shared policy framework will simplify business and help globalize it. If partners on both sides of the Atlantic can join forces to promote a healthy regulatory climate, the likelihood of our success will increase. In this regard, it was encouraging to see the Executive Order last week that calls on US agencies to work with international counterparts to make regulatory regimes more interoperable and less fragmented on a cross-border basis.
Our global competitiveness has been, and will continue to be, driven by technological innovation and the increased productivity it can bring. Thus, we have a common interest in governmental policies that spur investment, innovation, and economic growth. I look forward to our continued work together to set the path to recovery, while simultaneously addressing the long-term challenges facing Europe and United States.