New telecoms package: towards a single eCommunication market

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.COM Ltd.

The Commission’s telecommunications reform is “substantial” and should “integrate very fast technological development and globalisation” in the field, writes André Ferron in the October edition of Confrontations Europe.

Communications Commissioner Viviane Reding will present proposals for a revision of the 2003 telecoms framework on 13 November, which Ferron believes was already “rather positive”. Information and communications technologies currently represent a quarter of EU growth, he adds. 

Ferron states that Reding has a “firm ambition” – shared by operators and consumers – to create a single market for telecoms in the EU, and has thus opted for major reform rather than “cosmetic changes”. 

He believes that further reform is needed because “heavy and risky” investments in broadband networks, new internet voice services and mobile television “will not develop in an outdated framework of mobile phones”, neither through “legal loopholes” in the current set up. 

In order to complete the single market for eCommunications, Ferron calls for functional separation of networks and services (rather than ownership unbundling) and a strengthening of the independence of national regulators. 

However, he warns that functional separation is simply a “remedy for national regulators struggling to promote competition and investment” and not a “miracle cure”. 

Ferron believes that Reding’s most substantial innovation is the proposed creation of a European Telecom Market Authority to further strengthen cooperation between national regulators, “fill the regulation gaps and head towards more harmonisation”. 

The new body would deal with both competition and network security issues, and its first task would be harmonising radio spectrum management for broadband, he adds. 

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