Brussels, 23 May 2011
Digital Agenda: new telecoms rules benefit citizens and businesses across Europe
By 25th May 2011, Europeans will enjoy new rights and services regarding phones, mobile and Internet. New EU telecoms rules to ensure a more competitive telecoms sector and better services for customers are due to be implemented in national law by this date. They include the right for customers to switch telecoms operators in just one day without changing their phone number, the right to more clarity about the services customers are offered and better protection of personal data online. New oversight powers for the European Commission and regulatory powers for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) will create more regulatory certainty and help telecoms operators to grow in a single, pan-European telecoms market. The Commission has worked closely with Member States to seek swift implementation of these EU rules and will consider launching infringement proceedings against Member States which have not implemented them in time. Reinforcing the Single Market for telecoms services is a key objective of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "Citizens and businesses should take full advantage of the opportunities these new rules give them to get more competitive telecoms services. I will do my utmost to help them to do so. If these rights are not made available in practice, I will take the measures necessary to fix that situation vis-à-vis Member States and telecoms operators."
As of 25th May, the new EU rules give citizens and businesses:
Higher levels of consumer protection and more choice:
Improved online privacy and safety:
More consistent regulation across the EU:
Other new elements in the package include better access to emergency services including 112, Europe's single emergency number.
The Commission's Recommendation indicating to national telecoms regulators how they should regulate third-party competitive access to ultra-fast fibre networks (also known as 'next generation access' – NGA – networks) (see MEMO/10/424) was introduced recently on the basis of new elements in the updated telecoms rules.
The Commission is closely following the implementation of the new telecoms rules by Member States and will use its full powers, recently enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty, to ensure full and timely implementation of the EU's updated telecoms rules in national law. To help Member States implement the new telecoms rules, the Commission has produced guidelines on various issues, such as cookies and universal service.
The revised EU rules on telecoms networks and services were formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council in late 2009 (MEMO/09/491). The Parliament and Council agreed that the rules must be implemented into the national laws of the 27 Member States by 25th May 2011.
The two Directives that enter into force on 25th May 2011, the Better Regulation Directive and the Citizens' Rights Directive, amend five different existing EU Directives (Framework Directive, Access Directive, Authorisation Directive, Universal Service Directive and the e-Privacy Directive). A new Regulation setting up the European Body of Telecoms Regulators (BEREC) was also adopted. BEREC was officially established in Riga in May 2010 (IP/10/641).
Digital Agenda website:
Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/
Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu