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Agreement on telecoms interconnection Directive

A conciliation committee, composed of delegations from the European Parliament and Council, reached agreement on the proposed Directive on telecommunications interconnection and interoperability, after a meeting on 19 and 20 March 1997.

The text agreed by the committee will n...
A conciliation committee, composed of delegations from the European Parliament and Council, reached agreement on the proposed Directive on telecommunications interconnection and interoperability, after a meeting on 19 and 20 March 1997.

The text agreed by the committee will now be subject to approval by both Council and Parliament, with final adoption expected in May. The proposed Directive is a fundamental part of the regulatory framework for the liberalized EU telecommunications market, which is due to be established on 1 January 1998.

The interconnection Directive will ensure that new operators who enter the market are able to connect to the networks of existing operators, therefore ensuring a greater choice in suppliers and services, and a universal service throughout the EU. The agreement reached calls for rapid introduction of the new technologies needed to ensure universal service. Integrated services digital network (ISDN) will not initially be part of the universal service, but will be incorporated later on.

Conditions for the negotiation of interconnection agreements will be laid down in advance by the national regulatory authorities, in order to facilitate the entry of new operators. Conditions and charges should be laid down on the basis of transparency. They should reflect actual costs and must be fair for new entrants.

Other points of the agreement include the consideration of a new European regulatory authority when the Directive is reviewed in 1999. A procedure for the settlement of cross-border disputes, involving the national regulatory authorities concerned, has been agreed, as well as an interim solution for the problem of number portability, pending full national portability. Member States are also required to take the necessary steps to coordinate their positions in international organizations and fora.
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