Euro Commission wants to pick your brains on telcos and net access

Vast public consultations launched to guide new laws, so look forward to those

Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Pic: Jennifer Baker
H-dot will propose new telco rules

The European Commission on Friday launched two vast public consultations on internet speed and quality.

The so-called 360° review of telecoms and internet rules is open until December 7 and is seeking input from users, organisations, public bodies and businesses.

The telecoms questionnaire looks at network, service and governance, while the internet one examines online services and connectivity.

Digi Veep Andrus Ansip explained: “We are asking you about your needs and your expectations regarding your internet access in the European Union. We are also gathering views on the current telecoms rules and how they should evolve to support the Digital Single Market. Take this opportunity to have your say on Europe's digital future.”

The results of the consultations will feed into the Digital Single Market strategy – a raft of new laws that are expected next year.

“More than ever, Europe needs top-class connectivity. We therefore need rules that underpin sustainable, market-based, high-performance fixed and wireless broadband infrastructures for 2020 and beyond,” said Günther H-dot Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society.

The GSMA, which represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile operators worldwide, welcomed the consultation, but said that any new laws “should be focused in particular on removing unnecessary regulatory burdens”.

“The GSMA strongly encourages the modernisation of regulation in the sector to respond to the changed realities in the market. Europe needs policies that boost investment and encourage innovation, enabling service providers to continue to offer European citizens the quality of service they require,” the organisation stated.

ETNO, the association representing Europe’s largest telecoms operators, took the opportunity to unveil its own consumer survey on the digital habits and expectations of Europeans.

According to the results of the ETNO survey, half of those surveyed would value "being able to use any app provided by any app store on their smartphone", while unsurprisingly almost all – 94 per cent – said they had not used a public payphone recently.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) expects the consultations to show that there is strong competition in many communications services markets.

“However, strong competition in some areas does not equal strong competition in all areas. There will likely be persistent bottlenecks in the provision of last-mile infrastructure. Regulation will continue to be needed to ensure competitive provision of communications services to consumers and businesses,” said CCIA Europe vice president, James Waterworth.

The whole DSM strategy will involve hundreds of questions put to the public. Consultations on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the Cable Satellite Directive close on 30 September and 16 November respectively.

Consultations on online platforms, tackling unjustified geo-blocking, the eGovernment action plan, ICT standards and a public-private partnership on cybersecurity, are all expected in the coming weeks. ®




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