European Commission compromises on regulator
The European Commission has proposed a compromise for the European telecommunications regulator which backs away from Brussels' previous demand for a strong, centralised regulatory authority. The new proposal takes into consideration the changes demanded by the EU parliament, where the Commission's plans were met with resistance from various observers.
The newly proposed European regulator will be "substantially smaller in size and competences than initially envisaged". The new concept suggests a "lean and efficient office" which focuses on the regulatory aspects of the telecommunications sector and has no authority over radio spectrum or network security. Unlike initially proposed by the Commission, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) will, therefore, not be merged with the new authority, said the proposal.
In addition, the proposal suggests putting independent national regulators at the heart of the new office which will be known as the "Body of the European Telecoms Regulators". The regulators will also appoint the office's managing director. Consultation processes with the national regulators will be strengthened and, according to the amended proposal, the national telecommunications authorities will be given the power to ensure a minimum quality for internet users and maintain the network neutrality in Europe.
The Commission strives to achieve better political co-operation with regards to the radio spectrum policy. It also needs to be ensured that this doesn't restrict the increased flexibility in the use of the frequency spectrum, and that the promotion of wireless broadband access in rural and non-metropolitan areas isn't called into question, said the proposal. As suggested by the national representatives, the Commission's role in coordinating the conditions and procedures relating to the rights to use spectrum is now clearly focused on "pan-European services".
The Commission also reaffirms the need of telecoms operators to notify regulators and the public about data protection breaches and related slip-ups. The affected individuals must be notified swiftly, simply and effectively, said the proposal. The Commission did not comment on the disagreement about the inclusion of IP addresses in the future EU data protection laws for electronic services.
- European Commission Proposes Reforms to EU Telecoms Rules on Converge network digest