Today we launch a new policy report in Brussels about the European Union’s core drive towards a Gigabit society. As you can see in our movie here, we fully embraced the concept and have made it part of our core company narrative, the Liberty Global GIGAWorld.
It is amazing what you can do with that word, Giga. We have made our European network with 50 million users GIGAReady, we invest billions more to build more than 5 million new homes in a project we now call GIGABuild.
You probably all know that the word comes from the Greek γίγας (gigas), which means giant. It is literally used to describe a unit prefix in the metric system, sometimes as 1 Billion, but strangely enough sometimes inconsistently also as 1,073,741,824.
A margin of error of 73 million sounds a bit worrying if we are to create the mission critical infrastructure of the 21st century.
Giga is also the name for the largest remaining medieval manuscript in the world, known as the Devil’s Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside. It is a botanical term to describe plants with a thicker stem, taller growth, thicker and darker leaves, and larger flowers.
But most interesting of all, and I am sure you did not know that, Gigas is a popular term for races of giants in fantasy games, in the Final Fantasy series, The Secret of Mana, Kingdom Hearts and Skies of Arcadia. The final colossus in Sony’s Shadow of the Colossus is known as Grand Gigas Malus and in the Pokémon series, the name of the 486th Pokémon is Regigigas, meaning royal giant.
Anyway, it is big, it is beyond Mega – and it is the future for our digital society.
At Liberty Global, we have invested more than 18 billion euros over the last five years in capital expenditure, used to roll-out and enhance our fibre-based European networks, equipment and technical facilities. We want to play our part in delivering what the Commission has rightly identified as one of the critical challenges of our times. Very High Capacity (VHC) networks are the modern equivalent of the Roman roads, the Victorian railways, the Dutch canals – the infrastructure (in other words) that gives us all the freedom to connect, to be in touch and in charge, able to make the most of the digital age.
Without such first-class communication networks, there will be no Digital Single Market, as Commissioner Ansip’s recently stated. I think we all share these views. Now is the time to have a closer look at the how.
As a pan-European operator, we have been involved in debates and consultations for more than a decade and we are convinced that the principles that underlie the European framework are sound.
And now, as an industry, we need to ask what is necessary to create a European digital society against the background of these proposals. What is it policy makers in Member States should do? What should they not do? Are the new objectives a realistic ambition?
Our world is changing fast and new technologies and new capabilities will be the fertile breeding ground for new products, services and business models. Only our imagination can limit the potential of the GIGAWorld – if the right infrastructure is in place to access it.
We are committed to make it happen and bring the GIGAWorld to life for all our customers. As tough the going might be for Europe these days in the ‘analog’ geopolitical world, the digital internal market gives us a massive potential for growth, education and innovation and generally a strong positive boost to the European project.
We’re ready. Let’s get going GIGA.