The Digital Renaissance Is Here: McAdam in Europe

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Europe stands at the threshold of a digital renaissance. With a renewed digital agenda in focus, the path forward for Europe’s digital economy – which is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy – is promising yet predicated on constructive regulation.

Lowell McAdam, CEO and chairman of Verizon, was called upon to provide his input into the European Commission’s next wave of digital policies – examining what needs to happen to encourage investment, catalyze innovation and boost consumer confidence.

Here are key points from McAdam’s keynote at Financial Times ETNO Summit 2014.

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According to McAdam, "The global digital economy is now as important to the world’s economy as the energy, financial, and transportation industries – both as a standalone sector and as a far-reaching enabler of innovation across all industries."

  • Internet video is expected to make up almost 70% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017.
  • Every major car manufacturer will be rolling out “intelligent and connected” cars as early as 2016.
  • The digital economy is expected to exceed $4 trillion in the world’s 20 major economies by 2016.

Given these projections, McAdam encourages Europe to turn volume into value by proposing a 21st century regulatory agenda.

Policy Takes Center on the World Stage
“Today’s 21st century digital economy – this golden age of innovation that promises to expand opportunities and prosperity- can only flourish when you have a 21st century regulatory agenda to sustain it," says McAdam.

He suggests a 21st century regulatory agenda is built on three core principles:

  • A unified market and regulatory regime that provides economies of scale and incents meaningful infrastructure investments and re-investments.
  • A light-touch regulatory approach that avoids adding artificial constraints on the marketplace that do not address a demonstrable harm to consumers.
  • A framework for consumer empowerment and meaningful competition that remove barriers to market entry and gives consumers more choices, freedoms and benefits.

McAdam calls on regulators to reinforce digital policies that prioritize the consumer and promote the capital investment needed for the next era of the digital revolution.