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Telecommunications Council of 28 November 1996

The Council of Telecommunications Ministers of the European Union, meeting in Brussels on 28 November, held a discussion on the Commission's proposal for a Directive on the application of open network provision (ONP) to voice telephony and adopted a resolution on illegal and h...
The Council of Telecommunications Ministers of the European Union, meeting in Brussels on 28 November, held a discussion on the Commission's proposal for a Directive on the application of open network provision (ONP) to voice telephony and adopted a resolution on illegal and harmful content on the Internet.

The proposed Directive was presented by the Commission to the Council and Parliament in September 1996, and proposes a definition of universal service for telecommunications in view of the forthcoming liberalization of the market. The Council's debate focused on resolving a number of political questions at an early stage in the debate, so as to facilitate progress on the proposal. In particular, a number of Ministers were of the opinion that the extension of the Directive's scope to mobile telephony, at least in some respects, should be examined. In addition, some Ministers considered that provision to oblige mobile operators to contribute to the costs of universal service provision should be included in the Directive.

The resolution on illegal and harmful content on the Internet was adopted in the wake of several discussions in Council meetings during the past few months, and takes account of the report of the working party on the possible regulation of the Internet. The resolution calls on Member States to encourage and facilitate self-regulatory systems for service providers and to encourage the use of filtering mechanisms and rating systems. The Commission is called on to coordinate this work at Community level and facilitate exchanges of information. In addition, the Commission should foster research into technical issues, particularly filtering, rating, tracing and privacy-enhancing.

The Council also calls on the Commission and Member States to take the necessary steps to follow-up the results of the planned international Ministerial conference, to be hosted by Germany in 1997.

The Council was also briefed by Commissioner Martin Bangemann on a number of recent policy developments from the Commission. These included the updated Information Society Action Plan, to be presented to the Dublin European Council on 13 and 14 December 1996; the Green Paper on a numbering policy for telecommunications services; and the preparations for Commission communications in early 1997 on health risks linked to mobile communications and the satellite communications industry.
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