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New regulatory framework for telecommunications

The European Commission has outlined proposals for a new regulatory framework for telecommunications, following the results of last year's public consultation on the Telecommunications Review.

In a Communication adopted by the Commission, proposals for a low-cost competitive ...
The European Commission has outlined proposals for a new regulatory framework for telecommunications, following the results of last year's public consultation on the Telecommunications Review.

In a Communication adopted by the Commission, proposals for a low-cost competitive communications infrastructure were put forward. These plans are part of the Commission's eEurope strategy, approved at the recent Lisbon summit.

'Telecommunications and the Internet have become crucial for our economies and societies,' said Information Society Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen.

'A regulatory framework that allows competition and innovation to thrive will drive down telecommunications and Internet prices. This is the key element for Europe's success in the new knowledge-based economy.'

Following a wide-ranging public consultation, the Telecommunications Review proposed a regulatory framework covering all communications infrastructure and related services, whilst setting out the objectives and principles that should govern this framework.

Policy proposals covered licensing and authorisations; access and interconnection; management of radio spectrum; universal service; user and consumer rights; numbering, naming and addressing; specific competition issues and institutional issues.

The Commission's communication on the review puts forward suggestions aimed at facilitating market entry by simplifying licensing conditions, and rolling back regulation by modifying the notion of significant market power so it is consistent with competition practice regarding the concept of a dominant position.

The proposals would give national regulators greater flexibility to impose access and interconnection obligations according to national circumstances, balanced by strong coordination at European level to safeguard the single market.

The Commission also recommends that consumers are protected in their dealings with suppliers in the competitive market, and that mobile operators are obliged to offer 'number portability' to users when changing operators.

The communication reinforces the Commission's recent recommendation on unbundling the 'local loop' - the last mile of cooper wire connecting homes to telephone exchanges.
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