The EU Commission has proposed a Single European Telecoms Market for 500 million consumers
On 13 November the EU Commission adopted proposals for a reform of the EU telecoms rules. With the reform, the Commission wants to enable citizens, wherever they live and wherever they travel in the EU, to benefit from better and cheaper communication services, whether they use mobile phones, fast broadband Internet connections or cable TV. To achieve this, the Commission proposes strengthening consumer rights; giving consumers more choice by reinforcing competition between telecoms operators; promoting investment into new communication infrastructures, in particular by freeing radio spectrum for wireless broadband services; and making communication networks more reliable and more secure, especially in case of viruses and other cyber-attacks. A new European Telecom Market Authority will support the Commission and national telecoms regulators in ensuring that market rules and consumer regulation are applied consistently, independently and without protectionism in all 27 EU Member States. To become law, the Commission proposals will now need to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.
‘From today onwards, a single market without borders for
Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner said: ‘Today's telecoms reform proposals put
The ‘Telecoms Reform Package’, which was presented by the Commission to the European Parliament in
To quickly and effectively implement the reform, the Commission proposes establishing a European Telecom Market Authority that will help ensure that important communication services (such as internet broadband access, data roaming, mobile phone usage on planes and ships and cross-border business services) are regulated more consistently across the 27 EU Member States. The European Telecom Market Authority will more effectively combine the functions of the current European Regulators Group (ERG) and of the current European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).
‘Through last summer's EU Roaming Regulation, we treated one of the most visible symptoms resulting from the lack of a single European telecoms market for consumers,’ said Commissioner Reding (see IP/07/1445). ‘With today's reform proposals, the Commission now goes to the heart of the problem: the fragmentation of
Bob Stankey, Partner in the Advertising, Media and Technology team at international law firm Reed Smith Richards Butler, commented on the Commission’s Telecom Package and the need for reform: ‘The Commission is updating Europe’s communications regulation for a Web 2.0 world of converged communications platforms. The Commission is right to put a particular focus on better spectrum use. The current country-by-country patchwork of rules makes it expensive and technically difficult to make new wireless services widely available in the EU.’ He went on to comment on the dangers of over regulation of VoIP services: ‘On the other measures announced, we will have to see the details of the proposals – especially when consumers are required to be notified of data security breaches and when VoIP services must provide access to emergency services. There is a particular concern that the Commission will over-regulate VoIP services - VoIP features are being included in lots of things that cannot be confused with traditional telephone services and should not be regulated in the same way. The risk is that it will stifle innovation.’