14 March 2016

Brexit in Brief: Digital and Telecoms


Opportunities presented by economy changing digital technologies are vast.

Does being in a block of 28 countries working together to reap the benefits in this sector give the UK a significant advantage, or could the UK just as easily achieve these benefits all on its own?

In the digital sector globally, talk has moved forward to a fourth industrial revolution with the European Commission focusing on the creation of a digital single market (DSM) as a platform for this revolution. Forty-two percent of the global digital services market is generated by EU member states, however, only four per cent is done across borders within the EU itself, with the main barriers being the differing rules across Europe making it difficult for digital services to cross borders; as well as expensive.

DSM is all about bringing these barriers down. Recent figures show that by 2030, London as part of the DSM could benefit in the region of £1.7billion in economic growth. Businesses need to consider how a British exit from the EU would impact the UKs ability to reap expected benefits of the Digital Single Market in the technological era. One process across the EU would mean businesses could expand more freely with one registration process, enabling them to operate anywhere in the EU.

Would businesses be more inclined to centre around other European tech hubs such as Munich or Paris post Brexit?

European Commission regulation on roaming requires the abolition of roaming charges within Europe for SMS voice and data from June 2017.

Would Britain remain subject to roaming charges if it left the EU?

The UK Government has been a strong supporter of the Digital Single Market and has tried to influence and shape the form of a European Digital Single Market. The UK's absence could mean more divergence but rules that the UK would still have to follow.

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