Out-Law News 1 min. read

EU law makers set to begin negotiations over new telecoms laws

EU law makers are set to begin final negotiations over a new European Electronic Communications Code.

The proposed new Code, which would be set out in a new EU directive, is designed to support the development of new electronic communication networks, although it addresses a number of further issues relating to the regulation of the telecoms market in the EU too.

Representatives of the national governments from across the EU could begin talks on the final wording of the new legislation with MEPs before the end of October after the Council of Ministers gave the go-ahead for negotiations to begin, according to a statement issued by the Council.

The Code would, if finalised as drafted, impose new statutory duties on telecoms regulators to, among other things, "promote access to, and take-up of, very high capacity data connectivity, both including fixed, and mobile and wireless, by all Union citizens and businesses", and provide for regulatory conditions that help encourage investment in new electronic communications networks, according to the Council's proposals. The proposals build on plans first outlined by the European Commission last year.

The draft legislation would also provide new rights to deploy new telecoms infrastructure on public or private land, encourage the sharing of that infrastructure by different operators, and further envisages a more harmonised approach to the allocation of spectrum across the EU.

The Code would also lay out rules by which national regulators might impose regulatory conditions on telecoms operators in their jurisdiction proactively, and set conditions on how operator designated as having significant market power should be regulated.

Rules designed to ensuring telecoms networks and services are secure are also included in the Council's proposals, including security incident notification obligations for operators.

Other provisions address conditions on the 'bundling' of telecoms services by operators, pre-contract information that would need to be shared with consumers, and on the promotion of price comparison tools in the market.

A coalition of six telecoms industry trade bodies criticised the direction that negotiations over the new European Electronic Communications Code appeared to be going in the summer.

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