Feeds

EC proposes massive telco shake-up

Incumbents face 'structural separation' showdown

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The European Commission (EC) could be on a collision course with Europe's biggest telcos after publicly backing the idea of breaking-up incumbent operators.

Speaking last night, Viviane Reding, the commissioner responsible for Information Society and Media, said she planned to publish proposals that that would "for the first time consider the policy option of 'structural separation'" for Europe's biggest operators, giving rivals equal and non-discriminatory access to their networks.

Reding cited the UK, where regulator Ofcom has already taken such steps with BT to create a new access services division - Openreach. She also pointed to the US where she argued that "the opening up of the telecom monopoly of AT&T" starting in 1984 had helped give consumers "a true choice".

"Today, the EU rules in force do not foresee structural separation as a regulatory remedy on the telecom markets," said Reding. "But I see that the United Kingdom, which has opted for a form of structural separation at national level, has made good experiences with this remedy.

"I believe that the policy option of structural separation could answer many competition problems that Europe's telecom markets are still facing today. Perhaps we have to be as radical as regulators were in the US in the 1980s to make real progress?"

She went on: "Of course, we will have to find our own European solutions, adapted to the needs of our continent. But 'a European way of structural separation' is certainly a policy option that needs to be discussed intensively in the forthcoming months."

Part of Reding's speech yesterday focused on how telcos are no longer restricted to operating within their own national boundaries and are instead creating networks across Europe. She also highlighted how current European regulations are not imposed evenly by every nation, leading to distortions across the EU.

Her remedy for both of these, which has already drawn criticism, is the creation of a single European telecoms regulator.

"The most effective way to achieve a real level playing field for telecom operators across the EU would of course be create an independent European telecom regulator that would work together with national regulators in a system, similar to the European System of Central Banks," she said.

Such a move would mean that all EU rules and regulations would be applied "consistently in all Member States".

A spokesman for the European Regulators Group, which represents the EU's telecoms regulators, played down Reding's comments by saying "if the system isn't broke, don't fix it". ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?