The President

Stephan Netzle
Stephan Netzle

Development in relation to digital communications does not stand still: new technologies make new services possible which we will soon use on a daily basis, though which also raise new questions which legislators and the regulator will have to address.

For example, in the immediate future ComCom will be awarding additional spectrum for mobile communications, e.g. in the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.4 - 3.8 GHz range. Additional frequencies are needed in particular for the next generation of mobile radio, 5G. In Asia and the USA, the technical development work is proceeding at full speed. The forthcoming Olympic Games in Korea (2018), Japan (2020) and China (2022) seem to be giving significant impetus to the governments and businesses of those countries in order to present to the world the possibilities which the new technologies offer. What can the regulator contribute to ensure that Switzerland keeps pace?

A further increase in the capacity of the networks is also indispensable in Switzerland. This cannot simply be a matter of improved reception of videos and images: electronic communication is an essential factor in our occupational activity. Industrial processes, the Internet of Things and increasingly also the health sector are making high demands on the quality and capacity of digital communications. It is precisely in the area of economic support for regions in Switzerland outside the urban centres that this development is promising.

For the network operators, further expansion of the communications networks requires significant investment. They will increasingly be thinking about the joint creation and use of infrastructures, and this in turn raises regulatory issues: to what extent does such cooperation influence the competition which has led to good quality and extensive coverage in the telecommunications sector in Switzerland?

The demand for digital network capacity is growing faster than the supply and this is creating infrastructure bottlenecks. According to what criteria is this demand to be met? Should the network operators be allowed to apply such criteria even if this is advantageous from an economic viewpoint? Should network neutrality be legally regulated and monitored by the regulator, or is it sufficient if the answers to these questions are left to the network operators themselves?

The new technical possibilities of the next mobile radio generation are giving rise to high expectations. However, this does not belie the fact that the increasing intrusion into our private and professional life is associated with growing dangers and risks. How do we protect our private lives? How do we prevent the abusive use of our data? How do we protect our intellectual property? Are our traditional legal instruments adequate to combat the abuse of data on the internet and cybercrime? What contribution can and must the providers of digital services make? Answering these questions is also made more difficult because digital services are also provided by companies which are not currently subject to regulation but which operate globally and make use of the infrastructure of the regulated network operators to do this.