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Future development of the market in directories and other telecommunications information services

On the initiative of Mr. Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for Industrial Affairs, Telecommunications and Information Technologies, the Commission has adopted a communication setting out guidelines for the future development of the telecommunications directories market.

The...
On the initiative of Mr. Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for Industrial Affairs, Telecommunications and Information Technologies, the Commission has adopted a communication setting out guidelines for the future development of the telecommunications directories market.

The introduction of a competitive environment in the telecommunications sector requires an extension of Community telecommunications rules to include directories and information services. This must, however, ensure the maintenance of a universal directory and information service that is easily accessible to all users at an affordable price.

To the extent that a directory is both a product and a service, the provisions of the Treaty relating to competition (Art. 85, 86, 90), the free movement of goods, the freedom to provide services, and consumer protection (Art. 30 to 34, 36, 59, 60, 100a, 129a and several directives based on these articles) must be applied.

The Commission will pursue the application of these provisions taking into account the guidelines outlined in the communication. Where appropriate these will be incorporated in proposals to be presented to the European Parliament and to the Council in order to complete the legal framework for a liberalized telecommunications market.

The directories and associated information services sectors are at the sharp end of telecommunications and publishing and, as a consequence, their development is completely at the mercy of any changes that may occur in these two sectors. Directories account for a major proportion of the media and represent 7.5% of the advertising market in the European Union.

Directory services represent the most important means of access to telecommunications services and will play a central role with regard to the use of telecommunications services in a competitive environment. Drawing on the benefits of the new technologies and, in particular, of the interactivity made possible by videotex services, this sector is currently making its debut in the world of multimedia. As one of the major elements in this new market, it should contribute significantly to the development of the latter.

Telecommunications directories are supplied in a variety of forms: printed, electronic (on line or CD-ROM) or via a telephone hotline. The Commission is proposing the following guidelines with a view to developing this sector:

- Retention of a universal directory and a telephone information service in a competitive environment;
- Abolition of exclusive and special rights in the telecommunications directories market which exist under certain national regulations;
- Conditions governing access and marketing ensuring that access to raw subscriber data should be provided on the basis of objective, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria and in accordance with the Community provisions in force, notably with regard to the rules of competition, the principles of Open Network Provision (ONP) and the protection of personal data and individual privacy;
- Promotion of new technologies (electronic directory, CD-ROM and X500 service) and opening-up to multimedia;
- Precautionary measures for the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property rights.
DE

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