December 21, 2009 - Long-awaited European Union telecommunications rules are set to take effect this week, the EU Commission said Monday. The rules, which must be adopted by EU member states by June 2011, will establish a new national governing authority for the field of telecommunications.
“The establishment of the new European Telecoms Authority BEREC is a very visible sign that we are serious when we say that Europe’s telecoms operators and consumers should no longer feel national borders in network access and the delivery of communication services,” said Viviane Reding, the EU’s Telecoms Commissioner, in a statement.
"From spring 2010 onwards, BEREC will help national telecoms regulators and the European Commission to ensure that telecoms services can be delivered under consistent and competitive conditions across the EU. Now that the reform Directives have been published in the Official Journal, I ask Member States to start work on the swift transposition of these rules into national laws. A rapid and correct transposition will be crucial for achieving legal certainty, enhancing competition and stimulating investment in Europe's evolving single telecoms market," she said.
BEREC, which will be set up in the next 20 days, is meant to provide a force for more consistent regulation across Europe. BEREC will be made up of the heads of 27 national telecoms regulators. The EU Commission said Monday that as a result of the telecom reform, 500 million EU citizens will be able to benefit from greater consumer choice "through enhanced competition on Europe’s telecoms markets, from better coverage over fast internet broadband connections across Europe, and from a stronger entrenchment of their right to privacy in their telecommunications,” the statement said.
“On the spectrum side, it is now up to the Member States to adapt their allocation and licensing systems to the new rules, to provide greater flexibility for spectrum users."
The Commission also said it is working to prepare a proposal for a radio spectrum policy program and for the creation of a strategic framework for EU spectrum policy.
In other spectrum news, Press Trust of India is reporting Monday that the government plans to auction third generation mobile spectrum on January 14. The government is looking to give four private entities access to the spectrum by August.
"The Empowered Group of Ministers has decided to auction 3G mobile spectrum for four slots as per original schedule," Telecom Minister A. Raja said.