RTR creates stable general framework for the project of the century: Infrastructure expansion Press release dated 17 September 2009 At a press conference organized by Austrian Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology Doris Bures on the topic of "New initiatives for broadband expansion,“ Georg Serentschy, Managing Director of the Telecommunications Division at RTR, welcomed the federal minister's initiative to establish a competence center for information and communications technologies (ICTs): "My vision for Austria is to transform the country's information society to a 'creative knowledge-based society,' meaning that Austria will position itself as a forerunner and innovator in Europe and set new standards in the ICT field. This vision will require the central coordination of all ICT-related activities on the basis of a nationwide strategy as well as commitment on the part of policymakers," Serentschy explained. Regulatory authority as a catalyst for infrastructure expansion Serentschy sees the total modernization of Austria's telecommunications infrastructure as the "project of the century." At a very early stage, the regulatory authority recognized the importance of expanding the country's high-speed infrastructure and the need to replace the decades-old copper-wire networks with fiber optic infrastructure. "Our function is that of a catalyst: We are working to create a clear regulatory framework for infrastructure expansion in the interest of the economy, to encourage cooperation among a wide variety of stakeholders inside and outside the ICT industry, and to enhance transparency. Since early 2008, we have been engaged in intensive discussions on a monthly basis with all of the stakeholders in the industry working group established by RTR. At two meetings in the spring of 2009, we dealt with the topic of expansion and cooperation models for access infrastructure as well as financing broadband access networks in order to promote awareness among telecommunications providers and other potential infrastructure providers," notes Serentschy on RTR's activities. "As one of the highlights of the year, we will present a study on potential cooperation models for infrastructure expansion at our regulatory workshop in October.“ Regulation – A key prerequisite for a stable framework Companies both in Austria and abroad have already been discussing how to upgrade and expand existing infrastructure for a long time, carrying out pilot projects and investing in fiber optic infrastructure in order to be prepared for the demands of the future. "The regulatory authority also attributes these developments to increasing competition from other technologies, such as mobile networks and cable networks. It was and still is important to ensure competition between infrastructure platforms, and we will continue our activities to create a stable framework as a basis for fair competition and secure investments for market participants," Serentschy concluded. For further information on the press conference, please refer to the web site of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology at http://www.bmvit.gv.at/presse/aktuell/index.html (in German). Additional information on the topic of infrastructure expansion can be found on the RTR web site at the following link (in German).