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Vital step in telecommunications liberalization

The European Commission adopted on 15 November 1993 a communication to the Council and the European Parliament on developing universal service in the new competitive environment. This communication follows a proposal of Commissioners Bangemann and Van Miert.

The communication...
The European Commission adopted on 15 November 1993 a communication to the Council and the European Parliament on developing universal service in the new competitive environment. This communication follows a proposal of Commissioners Bangemann and Van Miert.

The communication represents a vital first step in assisting Member States and telecommunications operators in their preparations for the full liberalization of telecommunications services, planned for 1 January 1998, as set by the Telecommunications Council of 16 June 1993.

The provision and further development of a universal telecommunications service for all users at an affordable price includes the right for all customers, as identified in the communication:

- To have a phone connected;
- To obtain services meeting defined quality standards;
- To benefit from clear procedures to sort out problems with telecommunications operators;
- Progressively have access to a range of new services (itemized billing, access to emergency services, a minimum set of high capacity leased lines, etc.).

The guidance provided by this communication will also help Member States to meet their existing obligations to ensure that call and other charges in the sector move towards cost. The cost of universal service should be met through a combination of:

- Greater direct contributions from subscriber revenue and from rebalanced tariffs;
- Access charges paid by new operators and service providers;
- Where appropriate, funding in the peripheral regions from the Community support framework.

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