EC Proposals For Single European Telecoms Market

The European Commission has published proposals on the reform of the regulation of communications services in Europe, which will enable consumers, wherever they live and wherever they travel in the EU, to benefit from better and cheaper communication services, across mobile phones, fast broadband internet connections and cable TV. The reform package sees far reaching changes, including proposals such as “net neutrality,” putting new regulations on VoIP services, greater flexibility in spectrum use and promoting more pan-EU services. The proposals will go to the European Parliament for consideration.

Commenting on the Commission’s Telecom Package, Bob Stankey, Partner in the Advertising, Media and Technology team at international law firm Reed Smith Richards Butler, said:

“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.”

“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.”