QuickLinks - Telecommunications
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
Issue no. 277 - 30 July 2003
- EU - Commission holds workshop on single European Telephone Area Code
The European Commission held a workshop on 24 June to identify whether or not there is a demand from market players for the delivery of pan-European services such a freephone and premium rate services that can be reached by a common telephone number from anywhere in Europe.
- EU - Commission pushes for rapid deployment of location enhanced 112 emergency services
The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation that will help the emergency services locate people who call them using the pan-European emergency number 112 that can be dialled in all EU Member States. From 25 July 2003, under the Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC, fixed and mobile network operators are required to provide caller location information to emergency service centres responding to '112' calls. The Recommendation proposes a coordinated approach to translate the legal requirements into concrete measures.
- EU - Commission ready to ensure regulatory co-ordination in electronic communications
The European Commission has taken an important step towards putting into place the new Framework Directive for electronic communications networks and services. As Commissioners Liikanen and Monti announced at the open workshop held on 15 July 2003 in Brussels, the Commission is preparing to exercise its new tasks under Article 7 of the directive. These preparations include the adoption of the Recommendation on notifications, time limits and consultations regarding the procedures to be followed for notifications of draft measures by national regulators pursuant to Article 7. The adopted Recommendation was discussed extensively with national regulators, the European Regulators Group (ERG) and Member States. Commission Recommendation of 23 July 2003 on notifications, time limits and consultations provided for in Article 7 of Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services COM(2003)2647. see also EU - Getting Ready to Implement New Electronic Communications Law (RAPID). Mr Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, Article 7 workshop, Brussels, 15 July 2003 and EU - Commissioners Liikanen and Monti ready to take up new tasks in telecommunications policy.
- EU - Commission reduces regulation of the provision of leased lines
The European Commission took a Decision that will lead to the removal of obligations on certain telecommunications network operators to provide specific types of circuits known as leased lines. Leased lines are used by large companies to create in-house company networks. Following the successful liberalisation of electronic communications, there is now competitive supply of leased lines in the EU. Consequently the need to require provision of these leased line services nationwide in the Member States is decreasing.
- EU - Five Member States have implemented new telecoms regulatory package
25 July 2003 is the first day of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications in Europe, designed to create more competitive markets. Five Member States have taken the necessary action to transpose the package into national law (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Ireland), and a number of others, in particular Italy, are close behind. Latecomers risk infringement proceedings if action is not taken rapidly.
Issue no. 275 - 14 June 2003
- UK - Oftel consultation on conditional access regulation
Oftel has set out proposals to continue with the current arrangements for the provision of conditional access services under the new EC regulatory regime. Oftel's proposals are subject to a consultation which runs until 7 July 2003.
Issue no. 274 - 9 June 2003
- DE - Telekom kann Anschlusspreise erhöhen
Die Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post kündigte an, dass die Deutsche Telekom in diesem Jahr und 2004 im Anschlussbereich die Preise in einem oder mehreren Schritten bis maximal 10 Prozent anheben darf. Hierdurch könnte die monatliche Grundgebühr um zwei Euro steigen. Hintergrund ist der Vorwurf der EU-Kommission, dass der Ex-Monopolist durch eine zu enge Kosten-Preis-Schere den Wettbewerb im Ortsnetz verhindere. Gegen das Unternehmen verhängte die Kommission vor wenigen Wochen ein Bußgeld in Höhe von 12,6 Millionen Euro. Dabei rügte Brüssel den geringen Abstand zwischen Vorleistungs- und Endkundenpreis.
- US - Court: Consumers Can Keep Phone Numbers
Consumers should be allowed to keep their phone numbers when they switch cellular providers, a federal court ruled in rejecting an appeal by wireless companies. Consumer advocates say the inability to retain numbers is one of the biggest barriers preventing more cell phone users from switching in search of better service and prices. The Federal Communications Commission is requiring wireless carriers to provide "number portability" by Nov. 24. Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, an industry group, told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the FCC overstepped its authority by imposing the requirement. They said it will raise costs while doing little to increase competition. The court rejected that challenge, calling the FCC's action "permissible and reasonable."
Issue no. 272 - 24 May 2003
- EU - ECTA DSL Interconnection position
(ECTA regulatory Round Up)
ECTA has adopted a position on DSL Interconnect, giving a detailed stand on measures to achieve competition in the local access network. ECTA argues that the solution for both EU and national regulators is to continue to push for local loop unbundling to happen, but to also require incumbents to provide broadband interconnection services.
- EU - Electronic Communications: public consultation on remedies for market failure
The European Regulators Group (ERG) held its fourth meeting on 20 May 2003 in Athens, agreeing to launch a public consultation in June to formulate a common approach to market failure. The Group is established by the New Electronic Communications Framework that is due to be implemented by the Member States to achieve a better coordination of the Member States' application of EU legislation in the area of electronic communications and thus to create a level playing field in this regard throughout Europe. The ERG agreed to set out a common approach regarding remedies for market failure. The ERG plans to launch a public consultation in June.
- UK - Oftel Review 1984-2003, Creating competition and choice
Reflections by the four Director Generals of Telecommunications on the transformation by Oftel of the UK telecoms market from a single monopoly supplier to competition are contained in a review of Oftel's work published. Issues discussed include the opening up the telecoms market to competition and protecting consumers against anti-competitive practices. They also consider the lessons of the past for future regulation.
Issue no. 270 - 11 May 2003
- OECD - Study Urges Governments to Maintain Competition Rules as Telecoms Sector Restructures
Confidence is slowly returning to the telecommunications sector after the "boom and bust" years of the 1990s. Although the necessary restructuring now underway in the industry is painful, a new OECD study says governments and regulators should resist the temptation to provide relief to companies by easing competition requirements or by providing financial help. The study, After the Telecommunications Bubble, says that the current state of the industry in OECD countries does not justify a major shift in telecommunications regulatory policy as a way of encouraging new investment. Indeed, competition is still hampered in some market segments, particularly high-speed internet access, which deprives consumers and businesses of some of the benefits of technological innovation.
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- EU - Commission underlines objectives for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003
The European Commission has adopted a Communication setting out the EU priorities and objectives for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03). This Conference, organised periodically by the International Telecommunication Union, will next take place in Geneva from 9 June to 4 July 2003, with the objective of updating the allocation and other usage conditions of the radio spectrum at global level.
- EU - France must comply with judgment on financing of universal service in telecommunications
A judgment handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Communities in December 2001 criticised France's system for financing universal service in telecommunications. Almost sixteen months later, the Commission has concluded that insufficient remedial action has been taken. It has therefore decided to serve formal notice on the French authorities to comply fully with the Court's ruling.
- EU - France - Commission calls for equal treatment for cable networks in the provision of telecommunications services
On 8 April 2003 the Commission decided to send France a reasoned opinion for having failed to comply with the "Cable" Directive and the "Full Competition" Directive by maintaining special arrangements for the provision of telecommunications services by cable. The combined effect of the two Directives for cable operators is to remove restrictions on the provision of telecommunications services on cable networks, which until recently were essentially dedicated to the distribution of television programmes.
- UK - Freeserve successfully challenges telecoms regulator
(Baker & McKenzie)
Freeserve has successfully challenged the earlier rejection by Oftel of its complaint concerning the pricing of BT Openworld. The CAT ordered Oftel to reinvestigate Freeserve's allegation of predatory pricing and to do so within the course of the next three months. This is the first time Oftel has been successfully challenged in Court. See Competition Appeal Tribunal decision, Freeserve press release, Oftel press release, B&M press release, and The Guardian. [Ed: Oftel's press release states "The Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld Oftel's decision relating to a complaint by Freeserve that BT was behaving anti-competitively in its broadband marketing activities." ]
Issue no. 266 - 6 April 2003
Issue no. 265 - 29 March 2003
- UK - OFTEL proposes new regulatory regime
Oftel has set out proposals to replace existing regulation with new measures under the new EC Directives on electronic communications. Wholesale services - wholesale charges for access, call origination and transit of calls across fixed networks; Retail markets - the prices paid by consumers for line rental and calls; Fixed geographic call termination - the wholesale charges paid by operators for terminating calls onto individual fixed networks; Wholesale international services - the level of competition in 242 wholesale international call routes; and Unmetered Internet call termination - wholesale charges for unmetered narrowband Internet termination
Issue no. 264 - 23 March 2003
- Eurostrategies study - must carry
Study on the assessment of the Member States measures aimed at fulfilling certain general interest objectives linked to broadcasting, imposed on providers of electronic communications networks and services, in the context of the new regulatory framework, prepared by Eurostrategies. Executive summary, [EN *.pdf, 168KB] Final report [EN *.pdf, 1,96MB] Country profiles [EN *.pdf, 1,34MB]
2003-04-25 EU, Brussels Workshop on final report of Eurostrategies Study
Issue no. 263 - 16 March 2003
Issue no. 261 - 2 March 2003
- DE - Regulierungsbehörde legt Jahresbericht 2002 vor
Die deutschen TK-Märkte befinden sich trotz der anhaltenden Konsolidierung weiter auf Wachstumskurs. Matthias Kurth, Präsident der Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP), sagte bei der Vorstellung des Jahresberichts 2002, die Umsatzerlöse, die Auslastung der Netze und die Zahl der Lizenznehmer seien auch im vergangenen Jahr gestiegen. Zudem entwickle sich das Kundenwachstum im Mobilfunk und im Internet weiterhin dynamisch.
- US - FCC Member Defends Stance on State Powers
Faced with harsh criticism from several key lawmakers at a House hearing, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission defended his decision to join the agency's two Democrats in a vote giving state officials broad powers to regulate local telephone competition. see also US - Republicans Criticize FCC Phone Decision (AP). Republican lawmakers criticized a divided Federal Communications Commission for a decision letting states decide whether to spur competition between the regional Bell phone companies and their rivals.
Issue no. 260 - 23 February 2003
- EU - Commission urges Europe to move to Broadband
The European Union must accelerate the changeover to broadband services and third generation mobile communications, according to a new European Commission Communication on the state of the electronic communications sector. The report identifies broadband and "3G" as the main drivers of the sector. Electronic Communications: the Road to Knowledge Economy.
- EU - Recommendation on Relevant Product and Service Markets
Commission Recommendation on Relevant Product and Service Markets within the electronic communications sector susceptible to ex ante regulation in accordance with Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common regulatory framework for electronic communication networks and services. C(2003)497. see also Explanatory memorandum and Mr. Erkki Liikanen press briefing (RAPID).
- US - Few Cheers for New FCC Rules
A Federal Communications Commission decision to let states regulate competition among the regional Bell telephone companies drew sharp criticism from lawmakers, some members of the telecom industry and consumer advocacy groups. The FCC asked each state to decide for itself how to regulate competition in local telephone markets. The FCC did excuse the Bell companies from having to share their broadband pipelines with competitors at a fixed rate, which could spell trouble for smaller competitors. It could also result in fewer choices for consumers seeking high-speed Internet access.
Issue no. 256 - 18 January 2003
- A help line for European telecoms
Europe's incumbent telecom operators are heavily in debt after their ambitious expansion efforts in the 1990s and an enormous bill for third-generation licenses. So far, the response has been to slash spending. But cost cutting alone won't revive their fortunes: In addition, they must do something about falling revenues.
Issue no. 254 - 15 December 2002
Issue no. 253 - 8 December 2002
Issue no. 250 - 17 November 2002
- UE - La Commission songe à réguler le marché des lignes fixes
Afin d'encourager l'usage des lignes internet à haut-débit, la Commission européenne compte demander aux autorités nationales de réguler l'accès des fournisseurs de services aux réseaux de lignes téléphoniques fixes dépendant des opérateurs historiques.
Issue no. 249 - 10 November 2002
- EU - Commission welcomes inaugural meeting of European Regulators' Group in Telecoms
The inaugural meeting of the European Regulators' Group for electronic communications networks and services was held in Brussels on 25th October 2002. The Group will constitute the interface between National Regulatory Authorities and the Commission. It will contribute to the development of the Internal Market, and to the consistent application of the regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services in all Member States
Issue no. 242 - 30 July 2002
- EU - Commission creates Radio Spectrum Policy Group and European Regulators Group
The European Commission has set up a Radio Spectrum Policy Group and a European Regulators Group. The two advisory Groups will play a crucial role in assisting the Commission to develop further the Internal Market for the Information Society. The Radio Spectrum Policy Group will assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues, on co-ordination of policy approaches and, where appropriate, on harmonised conditions with regard to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum necessary for the establishment and functioning of the Internal Market. The European Regulators Group will act as an advisory group of independent national regulatory authorities to assist and advise the Commission in consolidating the Internal Market for electronic communications networks and services. It will allow co-operation between national regulatory authorities and the Commission so as to ensure the consistent application in all Member States of the regulatory framework.
Issue no. 241 - 24 July 2002
- DE - Bundesrat stoppt Call-by-Call im Ortsnetz
Wer sich auf die vermeintliche freie Wahl im Ortsnetz freute, muss sich wohl noch ein bisschen länger gedulden: Der Bundesrat hat heute die vom Bundestag beschlossene Einführung von Call-by-Call-Verbindungen im Ortsnetz ab Dezember 2002 abgelehnt.
- US - FCC delays number transfer for cell users
Cell phone users will have to wait longer to keep their phone numbers when they switch carriers, federal regulators decided. The Federal Communications Commission for the third time extended the deadline requiring carriers to allow consumers to keep their numbers. The new date is November 24, 2003, one year later than the previous deadline.
Issue no. 238 - 22 June 2002
Issue no. 237 - 16 June 2002
Issue no. 236 - 8 June 2002
- IRG 10TH Plenary Meeting
The Independent Regulators’ Group (IRG), composed of the heads of the national telecommunications regulatory agencies of nineteen European countries, held its tenth plenary meeting in Paris on 23 and 24 May, under the chairmanship of Jean-Michel Hubert, chairman of the French Autorité de régulation des télécommunications. IRG was created in 1997 as a flexible tool to approximate national regulatory practices and exchange useful experience. It has, since then, gained considerable and in-depth experience of the markets. On 24 May, a few weeks after the formal adoption of the new E.U. regulatory framework, it decided to reinforce its efficiency with improved working methods and a far-reaching work programme.
Issue no. 233 - 4 May 2002
Issue no. 232 - 28 April 2002
- EU - Commission asks for comments on overall report on local loop unbundling
see main document - overall report (792 KB), annex to overall report (1003 KB).
- EU - Electronic communications package published
L 108 24 April 2002
- Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision)
- Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive)
- Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive)
- Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive)
- Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)
Issue no. 231 - 14 April 2002
Issue no. 230 - 7 April 2002
- EU - Telecom Council, Brussels, 25 March 2002
Commission Press Release prior to Council.
- EU to name markets with poor record on deregulation
The European Commission is planning to identify and suggest remedies for areas within the European Union that have been slow to open their markets to competition. The EC is to publish before the end of this month two Recommendations (official guidelines) identifying areas of the EU telecommunications sector where it believes competition is not yet effective, and where new regulatory obligations should be imposed.
- USA - FCC To Refund $2.8 Billion In Spectrum Auction Deposits
The Federal Communications Commission will refund approximately $2.8 billion in down payments that mobile carriers paid for the rights to disputed airwave licenses.
- USA - Groups Challenge FCC On High-Speed Cable Ruling
Verizon Communications and a handful of consumer groups filed suit to overturn a decision by the Federal Communications Commission that would exempt high-speed cable Internet service from telephone-style regulations.
Index page see also Audiovisual | Convergence
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