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Telefónica calls for people-centred digital deal

Governments and businesses must mitigate the risks of technological disruption “jointly” through new regulatory models and social policies

Álvarez-Pallete says a new consensus is needed to guarantee digital inclusion
Álvarez-Pallete says a new consensus is needed to guarantee digital inclusion

The Spanish multinational telecoms company, Telefónica, is calling for a “new digital deal” that is centred on people and which ensures digitalisation benefits everyone. In the second edition of its Digital Manifesto, it sets out that such a deal should be the result of public-private cooperation to guarantee digital inclusion.


Telefónica highlights the benefits of digital technology in improving the lives of people and society in general and warns of the possible risks that this new era of technological disruption will bring. It says these are risks that Governments and businesses must “mitigate jointly” through new regulatory models and social policies that don’t become hurdles to economic development and innovation.


"It is time to reach a new consensus, a new digital deal that guarantees that the important benefits derived from digitalisation are accessible to all," said José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman of Telefónica, in the Manifesto’s foreword. "This requires a modernisation of social, economic and democratic institutions, as well as greater public-private collaboration."


Telefónica reckons that many of the current regulatory frameworks and standards are not adequate for the challenges posed by the new and complex digital environment. To adapt them, multiple social agents must collaborate to define the foundations for a fair and democratic use of new technologies. Sustainable digitalisation with a focus on people requires profound changes in public policies ensuring that technology will reduce inequality.


"We need a new regulatory paradigm that applies the same rules to the same services and that guarantees that all companies have the same opportunities to innovate. The authorities must intervene with agility when necessary to guarantee fair competition and the rights of users", underlined Pablo de Carvajal, Group General Council, public affairs, regulation and responsible business, at the presentation of the manifesto.


Telefónica’s manifesto sets out five main principles that should guide the debate on a new digital deal:

  • Digitalisation must be an inclusive process in which we can all participate
  • Social and fiscal policies must adapt to the current digital companies
  • Users must have transparent knowledge of their data and have control over how and when to use them
  • For the sustainability of the internet, global platforms of digital services that are responsible and committed to social development are needed
  • The modernisation of social policy and the rights of citizens in the digital world are required as well.

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