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Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo, had called for a nation digitalisation summit, less regulation and the complete release of the 3.5 GHz band for 5G networks in the Netherlands, according Telecompaper. At a debate organised by VodafoneZiggo with politicians and industry leaders, the CEO said the country may be a leader in connectivity, but the government needs to work harder at creating the right environment for long-term investment in digital infrastructure or the country will fall behind. 
 
Hoencamp (photo) said the company is concerned about the government and regulator ACM's move towards stricter regulation of fixed networks. At the moment, VodafoneZiggo is not subject to ex ante regulation over access to its cable network, unlike its main rival KPN. However, the ACM has signaled it's looking at the possibility of cable access in its latest analysis of the fixed broadband market.
 
VodafoneZiggo, which is a joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global, is also concerned about the planned spectrum auction in the second half of 2019. Hoencamp said a number of terms of the auction can still be improved, most importantly opening up the 3.5 GHz band to the mobile industry. This range is not planned for inclusion in the auction, due to part of the frequencies being used for defence and intelligence purposes at a satellite monitoring station in the north of the country. Hoencamp wants to see these frequencies freed up for use on 5G mobile networks. 
 
VodafoneZiggo also wants the mobile spectrum licences to carry a longer duration, giving operators greater certainty over long-term investments. "The aim of the auction should be to speed up the availability of 5G in all of the Netherlands. We need to avoid market players feeling forced to invest only in heavily populated and urban areas," Hoencamp said. 
 
The CEO also called for a more ambitious digital strategy in the Netherlands, developed through public and private sector cooperation. A national summit led by the prime minister could launch the process of setting clear ambitions and developing the necessary conditions to realise these goals. Hoencamp also underlined that the Netherlands top position in the world in terms of networks and connectivity was driven by private investment.