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Directive on telecoms authorizations and licences

The Directive on a common framework for general authorizations and individual licences in the field of telecommunications services was recently adopted by the Council and Parliament. This Directive is a major component of the European telecommunications liberalization framewor...

The Directive on a common framework for general authorizations and individual licences in the field of telecommunications services was recently adopted by the Council and Parliament. This Directive is a major component of the European telecommunications liberalization framework. The framework to be established relates to the procedures for granting general authorizations to provide telecommunications services within the Community, as well as the establishment of networks for the provision of such services. The procedure will ensure that authorizations, and the conditions attached to them, are made on non-discriminatory, proportionate and transparent grounds. The Directive sets out the conditions which may be attached to authorizations. Furthermore, operators should be able to provide telecommunications services on the basis of such general authorizations or without authorization. Individual licences should only be necessary where the holder is given access to scarce physical or other resources, such as radio frequencies and numbers, or access to land. In order to facilitate the provision of telecommunications services between Member States, the Directive calls for Member States to harmonize, where possible, the procedures for granting authorizations and licences. In addition, the Commission will establish a "one-stop shopping" procedure, which will allow any entity wishing to provide telecoms services in the Community to submit the necessary applications through a single point. In the implementation of the Directive, the Commission will be assisted by the "Licensing Committee", composed of representatives of the Member States. This Committee will give its opinion on measures to be taken, and will also facilitate the exchange of information between Member States. The Commission may also negotiate with third countries to obtain comparable rights for Community entities in those countries, where Member States have notified it of difficulties experienced. The Directive requires Member States to implement appropriate laws and regulations to comply with its provisions by the end of 1997. Under the terms of the Directive existing authorizations should be brought into line with its provisions by 1 January 1999. In certain cases Member States may be granted a deferment for a limited period from this date.

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