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Council discusses liberalization of telecommunications infrastructure

The Telecommunications Council met in Brussels on 17 November 1994 to discuss the first part of the Commission's Green Paper on the liberalization of the telecommunications infrastructure. Commissioner Bangemann and Commissioner Van Miert recalled the issues surrounding the G...

The Telecommunications Council met in Brussels on 17 November 1994 to discuss the first part of the Commission's Green Paper on the liberalization of the telecommunications infrastructure. Commissioner Bangemann and Commissioner Van Miert recalled the issues surrounding the Green Paper (emergence of the information society, liberalization of telecommunications services, maintenance of monopolies of communication networks in the majority of Member States) and the need for the rapid liberalization of networks for services that have already been liberalized. The Commissioners felt that the measures decided by Council (liberalization of services, with the exception of voice telephony) and the fact that alternative networks could still not be used for the transmission of liberalized services was contradictory. They pointed out that, at a time when companies are looking for partners in order to start building the information society, monopolies on certain infrastructures can create dominant positions. The Council adopted a resolution that sets the date of 1 January 1998 for the liberalization of all telecommunications infrastructure. Between now and then, the Council will adopt a regulatory framework for the definition of common principles (universal service, rules for interconnection, granting of licences, cooperation with third countries, equal conditions of competition between networks). The Commission intends to submit, before the end of the year, the second part of the Green Paper which will deal with the regulatory framework and safety measures to be applied in parallel with the liberalization infrastructures. Fixing a final date for liberalization represents the Member States' joint desire to adopt definitively the liberalization of infrastructures. With the backing of a number of Member States, the British government has also asked the Commission to propose, as soon as possible, measures towards liberalizing alternative networks (cable, satellites, etc.). The Commission submitted a declaration in which it indicated that it would continue to monitor the existence of restrictions to competition. Commissioner Van Miert also recalled that a project concerned with the liberalization of cable television was nearly ready.

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