Commission seeks council views on telecoms reform

Councils have been urged to help shape new rules governing the telecoms and broadband market across Europe.

The European Commission said that two new consultations would attempt to adapt current rules to the changing technological environment, including factors such as the rise of mobile devices and the Internet of Things.

Views are also being sought on whether app providers should face the same rules as traditional telecoms operators.

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Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the digital single market, said: “The internet is the oxygen of our digital economy and society. We are more and more connected, at every moment, everywhere.

“This means that access to high-speed and high-quality Internet has become essential to every European: people, companies, organisations or public bodies. We are asking you about your needs and your expectations regarding your internet access in the European Union.”

The first consultation will consider whether and how the 2009 Telecoms Package needs to be modernised in areas including network access regulation, spectrum management, communication services, universal services and telecoms governance.

The second consultation will deal with internet speed and quality and will explore what respondents require from the connected products they are currently using, including security issues.

Both consultations are open until 7 December, and following an evaluation of feedback, the commission will draw up proposed changes.

The commission said they are a major strand of its Digital Single Market Strategy, which has already seen decisions backing net neutrality to internet content, and an end to roaming charges across member states.

The consultations will also influence the decisions related to funding under the European Structural & Investment Funds, the Connecting Europe Facility and the European Fund for Strategic Investment, the commission said.

Günther H. Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: ” We need rules that underpin sustainable, market-based, high-performance fixed and wireless broadband infrastructures for 2020 and beyond.

“And it is not just about the telecoms sector; every part of our economy and society has a vital stake in these issues. We therefore seek a broad and inclusive public debate, based on the best evidence of future needs.” 

Colin Marrs

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