QuickLinks - Telecommunications
QuickLinks - Telecommunications
Issue no. 329 - 23 January 2005
- FR - Le coût du service universel fortement revu à la baisse
Contrainte par Bruxelles de revoir le calcul de la charge du service universel, l'ART a fixé la facture à 125 millions d'euros pour 2002 - contre 409 millions auparavant. France Télécom percevra 68 millions d'euros de compensation.
Issue no. 327 - 16 December 2004
- EU - Electronic communications markets 10th report
The EU electronic communications sector is showing signs of intensifying competition and strong growth in some segments. Progress in implementing the regulatory package has been good, but more work is needed if Europe is to reap the benefits of a fully competitive sector, says the European Commission's latest report on the implementation of the EU electronic communications regulatory package. This report, which for the first time covers 25 Member States, highlights the strong expansion of mobile and broadband communications.
- EU - Member states slow to transpose telecoms laws
One and a half years after it was due, Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain are still dragging their feet on the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications.
Issue no. 326 - 5 December 2004
- EU - Spectrum Trading and Switchover: Two Speeds?
The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) consists of representatives of Member States and the European Commission, along with representatives of EEA and candidate countries that act as observers. It was established in 2003 to assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues. The Group has recently delivered two opinions on the spectrum implications of switchover to digital broadcasting and on spectrum trading .The Group underlines that a more efficient use of the frequencies through digital transmission offers the potential for a considerable "spectrum dividend" that could be used to deliver enhanced broadcasting and other electronic communications services.
- NZ - Failure of telecoms experiment
New Zealand went its own way with telecoms deregulation, deciding not to have a telecoms regulator and relying simply on competition law. For its part, Telecom New Zealand decided on a massive outsourcing programme. Did it work? A recent survey that was conducted by the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development shows that the liberalisation and outsourcing of telecoms work has failed to provide quality services (and certainly failed to provide quality jobs).
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- UK - BT told to open network to rivals
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has warned BT that it must demonstrate a willingness to provide its rivals with "real equality of access" to its phone lines. Reviewing BT's ownership of the great majority of the UK's physical phone lines, Ofcom said BT must take action or face a Competition Commission probe. Ofcom added that BT would have to make both "behavioural and organisational" changes. BT had faced the alternative threat of being broken into two separate firms.
Issue no. 318 - 5 September 2004
- UK - Ofcom publishes LLU wholesale price cut proposals
(Digital Media Europe)
UK communications regulator Ofcom has published its final proposals for wholesale price reductions for Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) services. This will be the final stage of a process begun in May this year when Ofcom outlined its proposals to increase effective and sustainable competition in broadband.
- US - FCC chairman calls for new telecom laws
by Declan McCullagh. The head of the Federal Communications Commission said that the nation's telecommunications laws, written before the rise of the Internet, are "broken" and need to be fixed by Congress. Powell's comments mark his strongest criticism yet of the 1934 and 1996 telecommunications acts, which created arcane regulatory categories that do not clearly include the Internet. Powell singled out voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as a "killer app for legal policy change" because it pits two different regulatory models against each other and forces governments to choose which will prevail. The two models: a highly-regulated "common carrier" environment of cable TV and telephone service, and the lightly-regulated world of the Internet.
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
- Spectrum policy - On the same wavelength
How humans harness electromagnetic waves - and specifically those in the radio-frequency part of the spectrum - has become so important that old and new ways of thinking are now lining up for a tense confrontation that will affect numerous businesses and billions of consumers. The old mindset, supported by over a century of technological experience and 70 years of regulatory habit, views spectrum - the range of frequencies, or wavelengths, at which electromagnetic waves vibrate - as a scarce resource that must be allocated by governments or bought and sold like property. The new school, pointing to cutting-edge technologies, says that spectrum is by nature abundant and that allocating, buying or selling parts of it will one day seem as illogical as, say, apportioning or selling sound waves to people who would like to have a conversation.
Issue no. 316 - 1 August 2004
- EU - Radio spectrum policy: Commission urges more efforts
The EU's initiative to free up parts of the radio spectrum for innovative wireless technologies is off to a good start, but will need a sustained effort from EU Member States, MEPs and industry to succeed, says the European Commission in its first annual progress report on radio spectrum policy in the EU. This looks at measures taken under the new telecoms package (in particular the Radio spectrum Decision) to allocate the radio spectrum more efficiently, to expand the single market for innovative new radio-based technologies. These technologies have huge potential to enhance competitiveness and deliver new public services.
- EU - Secondary trading of radio spectrum - final report
The final report entitled 'Study on conditions and options in introducing secondary trading of radio spectrum in the European Community' by the consortium (Analysys Consulting, DotEcon, Hogan & Hartson) tasked by the European Commission with this investigation is available. Executive Summary, Report (printable version), Report (for on-screen viewing - including hyperlinks), Annexes.
- US - Judge: Feds, not states, should govern VoIP
State utility commissions can have very little control over Net phone companies, a New York federal judge wrote in an order that hands another victory to Vonage and similar upstarts. State utility commissions will be able to work with Vonage to rectify customer complaints but won't be able to regulate or tax the company, according to U.S. District Judge Douglas Eaton. Eaton's order strikes at the heart of a debate between federal regulators, which want to exercise a hands-off approach to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to let the young industry grow, and states, which rely on tax revenues to pay for public programs.
Issue no. 314 - 24 June 2004
- EU - First review on new regulatory framework for electronic communication rescheduled for the end of 2005
For a variety of reasons, the Commission will not conduct a review of its Recommendation on relevant markets and services, which was adopted on 12 February 2003 (the "Recommendation"). This Recommendation comprises a list of electronic communications markets designated to be subject to so-called ex ante regulation by national regulatory authorities. The Commission considers that the end of 2005 would be a more realistic date for conducting a more meaningful review of the relevant markets.
- EU - Commission goes to Court over discriminatory treatment against cable networks in France
The Commission lodged proceedings against France before the European Court of Justice. The proceedings concern France's failure to comply with the "Cable" and "Full Competition" Directives. Contrary to the obligations set forth in these directives, France maintains burdensome arrangements for the provision of telecommunications services by cable. Such arrangements do not apply to telecommunications services provided by any other public network. Previously, on 8 April 2003, the Commission had launched the initial phase of the Court action by sending France a reasoned opinion setting forth its concerns, but France has failed to amend its national legislation.
Issue no. 313 - 13 June 2004
- EU - Questionnaire on Spectrum Management
Aegis, IDATE and Bird & Bird are conducting a study for the European Commission (DG Information Society) on the availability of information on Spectrum Management in Europe. Our objective is to identify the scope and quality of information provided by national regulators and the extent to which this meets the needs of spectrum users. To do this, we need a clear understanding of what spectrum users require in terms of information on spectrum allocations, authorisation procedures, standards and the application of any new approaches to spectrum management such as auctions or trading. If you are currently a user of radio spectrum, or may be considering becoming a user in the future, we would welcome your views in this area. Deadline 31st July 2004.
- EU - Telecoms Council Results
Main results of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council held in Luxembourg on 10 June 2004 include eContentplus - Political agreement on a Common position, Safer Internet Plus - Agreement on a general approach and eEurope 2005 - Council conclusions.
Issue no. 311 - 31 May 2004
- EU - Secondary trading of radio spectrum
Study on conditions and options in introducing secondary trading of radio spectrum in the European Community The final report by the consortium (Analysys Consulting, DotEcon, Hogan & Hartson) tasked by the EC with this investigation is now available.In this context, a public workshop is scheduled to take place on 15 July 2004 in Brussels, to present and discuss the final results of the study (registration).
Issue no. 309 - 9 May 2004
- EU - New Member States under pressure to implement telecoms package
A number of new Member States appear to have failed to meet the 1 May deadline for transposing the EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications. While declining to give precise numbers, Commission services told EurActiv that 'not all of the countries have put the regulatory framework in place', adding that those who had done so needed to 'clarify more detailed secondary rules'. The current perception is that all major enlargement countries including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have yet to fully implement the rules.
Issue no. 308 - 2 May 2004
- EU - Consultation on priorities and objectives in the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007
Following the conclusion of the ITU WRC-03 conference, the Commission requested the Radio Spectrum Policy Group to provide it with an advisory Opinion on the policy priorities and objectives to be pursued by the European Community at the next conference (WRC-07), to ensure that European preparation of this event would be accompanied by a reflection process at political level taking into account Community interests. The RSPG has decided to set up a public consultation on this issue. It therefore welcomes all interested parties to express their views, whether they are individuals, representatives of particular companies, associations or public entities which could be affected by the results of negotiations at WRC-07. Deadline for responses: 21 May 2004.
- EU - Secondary trading of rights to use radio spectrum
Responses to the public call for consultation in the context of the development of a Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) Opinion. The main objective is to form an opinion on the potential benefits and drawbacks of secondary trading of spectrum for European Community policies and in particular the EC internal market; on the procedures and conditions to be addressed when introducing spectrum trading; and on the potential need for co-ordination among Member States regarding introduction of spectrum trading in order to avoid a fragmentation of the market for spectrum and wireless technologies.
- EU - Spectrum implications of switchover to digital broadcasting
Responses to the public call for consultation in the context of the development of a Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) Opinion on the spectrum implications of switchover to digital broadcasting. RSPG sought the views on this issue of all radio spectrum users, both commercial and non-commercial.
Issue no. 307 - 25 April 2004
- EU - Six Member States face Court action for failing to put in place new rules on electronic communications
After nine months of delay and two warnings, the Commission has decided to take six Member States - Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement fully new rules on electronics communications. At the same time progress is being made; since the Commission's first warning last autumn, Spain and Portugal have adopted the necessary national measures and so they are not included in today's decisions. The Netherlands voted its new legislation yesterday and France may finalise its national measures in the very near future.
Issue no. 304 - 21 March 2004
- EU - Telecommunications Council March 2004
2568th Council - Transport, Telecommunications and Energy - Brussels 8-9 March 2004 (provisional version) . Council conclusions on e-Europe 2005 Mid-Term Review, Situation of the electronic communications sector in Europe, Unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes or "spam", Follow-up to the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).
- US - Court rebuffs FCC's new telecom rules
A federal appeals court has handed local phone companies a strong legal victory, throwing out key restrictions included in a recent regulatory overhaul but keeping controversial broadband rules opposed by their rivals. In an order combining challenges from big local phone companies and their competitors, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the Federal Communications Commission was wrong to force local phone companies to share specific parts of their networks with rivals like AT&T or MCI, as well as to push important decisions about the telecommunications competition to the states.
Issue no. 303 - 29 February 2004
Issue no. 296 - 4 January 2004
- EU - Spectrum trading workshop
A workshop was held on 11 December 2003 for all parties interested in the use of radio spectrum and its management. Those taking part included industry players, non-profit organisations, military and public authorities in charge of radio spectrum policy. During the workshop, the initial findings of the first phase of the spectrum trading study were discussed, and members of the audience gave their views on spectrum trading. Summary of the workshop: a resumé of the issues discussed. Main presentations by Analysys, DotEcon and Hogan & Hartson. Stakeholder presentations by guest speakers.
- FR - France Télécom et l'ART à nouveau en désaccord sur une baisse de tarifs
L'opérateur historique et le régulateur en chef des télécoms poursuivent leur guerre des nerfs. Cette fois la polémique porte sur le calcul exact d'une baisse de prix sur des appels passés d'un téléphone fixe vers les mobiles d'Orange et SFR.
- Report on the telecommunications services sector in EU candidate countries
The ten accession countries (which are scheduled to join the EU on 1/5/2004) and the three remaining candidate countries are all committed to liberalising their telecommunications markets. IBM Business Consulting Services (formerly PwC Consulting) was commissioned by the Directorate General Information Society of the European Commission to prepare four reports tracking the development of the telecommunications services markets in the EU candidate countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey). The 4th and final report of the series has just been released.
Issue no. 295 - 21 December 2003
- DE - Gericht stoppt neue Telekom-Tarife
Die Telekom darf die Tarife XXL (neu) und Calltime 120 nicht mehr vertreiben, entschied das Verwaltungsgericht Köln. Die Gratis-Telefonate beeinträchtigten die Wettbewerbsmöglichkeit anderer Anbieter, befand das Gericht. Die beiden Tarife sind Pauschaltarife, der Kunde bezahlt eine monatliche Pauschale und erhält dafür beim Calltime-120-Tarif zwei Freistunden für Gespräche ins deutsche Festnetz; der neue XXL-Tarif erlaubt an Samstagen, Sonntagen und Feiertagen Telefonate ins deutsche Festnetz ohne Berechnung.
- EU - Electronic Communications: Commission acts against seven Member States
After the passing of the deadline for implementation of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications, the European Commission opened in early October infringement proceedings against eight Member States for failure to notify transposition measures (see IP/03/1356). The Commission has now followed up on this action by sending Reasoned Opinions to seven of those Member States, which have still not implemented the regulatory framework into their national legislation. The Member States concerned are Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Spain recently notified the Commission of its implementation of the Directives in question and the infringement proceeding against it has therefore been closed.
- UK - BT rivals angered by Ofcom's broadband plans
A group of UK telcos and ISPs have hit out at Britain's regulators for not forcing BT to change the way it prices certain broadband products. The Broadband Industry Group (BIG) claimed that Ofcom, the new communications regulator, and telecoms watchdog Oftel had missed an opportunity to bring more competition to the UK broadband market, and ultimately lower prices for consumers and businesses.
Issue no. 294 - 14 December 2003
- DE - Regulierer sieht Telekom-Konkurrenz gestärkt
Bei der Vorstellung des Tätigkeitsberichts 2002/2003 der Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) zog der Behörden-Chef Matthias Kurth eine "insgesamt erfreuliche Bilanz über die Fortschritte des Wettbewerbs im deutschen Telekommunikationsmarkt". Die Wettbewerber machten dem Marktführer Telekom immer stärkere Konkurrenz. In allen wesentlichen Geschäftssegmenten habe sich deren Marktposition verbessert und den Verbrauchern günstigere Preise beschert. siehe auch Monopolkommission empfiehlt Lockerung der Telekom-Regulierung. Die Monopolkommission hat wegen des zunehmenden Wettbewerbs in der Telekommunikation in Teilbereichen eine weitere Lockerung der Regulierung empfohlen. Die Monopolkommission kommt in einem Sondergutachten Telekommunikation und Post 2003 zu dem Ergebnis, dass "die Wettbewerbsentwicklung im Bereich der Telekommunikation deutlich positiver verlaufen ist, als noch vor zwei Jahren zu erwarten war".
- UK - Ofcom gets tough on telecoms industry
Ofcom announced the first full-scale review of the telecommunications market since the privatisation of BT but denied that the exercise is designed to lead to the break-up of the company. The review will take the new regulator most of next year, and will look at all aspects of the British market, from broadband services to the cost of making mobile phone calls. News of the most comprehensive scrutiny of the industry for almost 20 years took BT by surprise but was warmly welcomed by the rest of the industry, which had feared that Ofcom's responsibility for regulating broadcasting and the media would distract its attention from issues in the telecoms market. see The Ofcom Strategic Review of Telecommunications and Press Release.
Issue no. 293 - 7 December 2003
- EU - Commission underlines success at 2003 ITU World Radiocommunications Conference
The Commission has adopted a Communication underlining the successes achieved for Europe at the World Radiocommunications Conference, which completed its work in July 2003 (the WRC-03). The Communication provides an analysis of the impact of WRC decisions on underlying EU policies and identifies necessary implementation actions, based on the outcomes of this regulatory conference that agreed Radio Spectrum access at a global level.
- EU - Policy for the Development of the European Telecoms Sector
Speech by Mr Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society Technology, Media and Telecoms Conference. Morgan Stanley Barcelona, 21 November 2003.
Issue no. 292 - 23 November 2003
- EU - Electronic communications market is picking up, says Commission report
The situation in the electronic communications markets finally seems to be stabilising. That is the conclusion of the latest Report on the implementation by the Member States of the EU Electronic Communications Regulatory Package. The Report, which was adopted by the Commission today, points to renewed business and consumer confidence. Broadband (or high-speed) internet access and mobile communications are the main drivers of growth. The number of fixed broadband access lines has almost doubled over the last year but the competitive situation must improve further if the broadband sector is to truly thrive. The Report projects that in 2003 the number of mobile subscribers will grow at a higher rate than in 2002, notwithstanding that the penetration rate is already close to 90% in a number of EU countries. The Commission is however worried about the regulatory situation in many Member States, as so far only eight Member States have completed their transposition of the new EU legislation into national law.
Issue no. 291 - 15 November 2003
- EU - Major telecoms company spells out plan for pushing the deregulation agenda
Swedish telecom company Tele2 presented a Monopoly Challenger report to Commissioner Liikanen pushing for a quicker implementation of the EU's telecom deregulation agenda. See Press Release.
- US - Gearing Up for the Big Mobile Phone Switch
(New York Times)
The nation's 148 million wireless cellphone customers will no longer be locked in after Nov. 24, yet the question is whether freedom can be achieved without chaos. Moving a phone number to a new provider may sound simple, but it is anything but. Wireless companies and industry analysts question whether the carriers will be able to accommodate those who choose to make the switch. Studies predict more customer turnover in an industry already rife with it.
- US - Home numbers get OK to roam
The days of having more than one phone number may be, well, numbered for many people. Federal regulators approved rules making it easier for consumers to go totally wireless by allowing them to transfer their home number to their cell phone. For those who favor traditional phones, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to allow people to transfer their cell number to their home phone, though initially only a few will have this option.
Issue no. 290 - 9 November 2003
- DE - Call by Call: Schluss mit 0190
Wer auf der Telefonrechnung eine 0190-Nummer entdeckt, dem fährt erst einmal der Schreck in die Glieder: Die Nummer steht längst synonym für Abzocke in den Netzen. Das soll bald vorbei sein. Die Regulierungsbehörde verordnet eine deutliche Trennung von 'Mehrwert-' und Telefondiensten.
- DE - Regulierungsbehörde verbietet 0190-Sparvorwahlen
Die Regulierungsbehörde hat den Einsatz von 0190- und 0900-Rufnummern für Call-by-Call-Gespräche untersagt. Die entsprechenden Dienste müssen ihre Arbeit innerhalb von drei Wochen einstellen. Die Regulierungsbehörde stellte klar, dass Call-by-Call nur über die dafür vorgesehenen Vorwahlziffern 010xy und 0100xy angeboten werden darf. Offenbar will die Regulierungsbehörde in allen Bereichen für Ordnung sorgen. Vor einiger Zeit hatte sie bereits dem Missbrauch von Online-Einwahlnummern den Kampf angesagt. Die Regulierungsbehörde begründet die Entscheidung mit Vorteilen für den Verbraucher: Sie sorge für Klarheit und Transparenz. Die bestehenden Angebote verstießen gegen das Gesetz und verwirrten den Verbraucher. Außerdem bestehe bei den Sparvorwahlen mit 0190- und 0900-Rufnummern die Gefahr, durch Verwählen einen teuren Mehrwertdienst anzuwählen.
Issue no. 289 - 26 October 2003
Issue no. 287 - 11 October 2003
- EU - Commission warns eight Member States on telecom networks
The Commission has launched infringement proceedings against eight Member States for their failure to fully implement the EU's Directives establishing the new regulatory framework for electronic communications. The deadline for the EU-wide application of the Directives establishing the new regulatory framework for electronic communications expired on 25 July 2003. On 8 October, the Commission sent letters of formal notice to Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, calling on these countries to report on their compliance with the Directives within two months.
- EU - The future of ENUM, VoIP, IM, mobile phones, the Internet? Click here
An extensive and wide-ranging report to the European Commission is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of ENUM, Internet phones, Instant Messaging, mobile phones and the Internet in general. The report [pdf], written by Joe McNamee and Tiina Satuli of Political Intelligence, is intended as a guide to possible future regulation by Europe regarding new and emerging technologies and will be debated in Brussels on 14 October.
- EU diskutiert Zukunft der Netz-Regulierung
Wenn Netze und Märkte zusammenwachsen, müssen dann auch die Regulierer konvergieren? Mit dieser Frage beschäftigt sich Mitte Oktober eine Konferenz der EU Kommission, für die Brüssel nun zwei fette Studien über die Regulierungsprobleme in konvergenten Netzen vorgelegt hat.
- US - Court: Cable-based ISPs must provide line access
In a pivotal decision that could shift the competitive balance among Internet service providers, a U.S. appeals court said the Federal Communications Commission erred last year in ruling that cable-based ISPs were not obliged to give rivals access to their networks. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggests that cable-based ISPs should be subject to the same strict rules governing phone-based Internet service providers, which are generally required to open their lines to competing services. see also FCC decision.
Issue no. 282 - 7 September 2003
- EU - Commission reviews first case under new electronic communications regime
The Commission has reviewed the first case submitted to it under the new regulatory framework for electronic communications. Oftel, the UK national regulatory authority (NRA), came to the conclusion that there was sufficient competition in one of the UK wholesale mobile markets making existing sector-specific regulation redundant. The Commission concurs with Oftel's analysis and sent Oftel its comments on 29 August 2003.
Issue no. 281 - 31 August 2003
- UK - Oftel sets out regulatory framework under new EC Directives
Oftel has notified the European Commission of its proposals for regulation in several key telecoms markets. Oftel published initial conclusions of a number of market reviews, which set out Oftel's proposals for replacing existing regulation with new measures under the new EC Directives on electronic communications.
- US - Phone Companies Challenge FCC Rule
The nation's largest telephone companies asked a federal court to throw out new Federal Communications Commission regulations that they say unfairly allow competitors to lease parts of their networks at deep discounts.
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
- OECD - Developments in Local Loop Unbundling
Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) may have began as a policy to promote competition in local telephony, but recently it has received attention because of its role in stimulating broadband development in a number of countries.The OECD has recently published a paper which focuses on the development of local loop unbundling in OECD countries. It examines policies for unbundling, progress in achieving unbundling, and collocation and pricing policies for unbundling. (PDF).
Index page see also Audiovisual | Convergence
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