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      The  Commission  has  today, Wednesday 28th April  1993,  following  a
      proposal(1)  of  Commissioners  Bangemann  and  Van Miert  adopted   a
      Communication to the Council and European Parliament on the results of
      its   consultation   on   the  review  of   the   situation   in   the
      telecommunications services sector.

      This  consultation  and the resulting timetable for  action  which  is
      proposed  will  frame  the  development and  growth  of  the  European
      Community  telecommunications  sector (over 100 billion  ecu  for  the
      service sector and about 30 billion ecu for the equipment sector) over
      the remainder of the decade and beyond.

      Taking  advantage  of the Single Market and  technical  advances,  the
      regulatory changes envisaged will take the Community to the  forefront
      of world telecommunications developments.  The Commission is proposing
      to  continue  the  process  of  liberalisation  of  telecommunications
      initiated  with  the  1987 Green Paper and subsequent  1988  and  1990
      directives.  A  target date of 1st January 1998 has been set for  full
      liberalisation  of services; this will facilitate a sufficient  period
      of adjustment in order to work out supporting measures.


   The  aim  of the consultation has been to obtain the views  of  both  the
   European   industry  as  a  whole  and  of  the  main  players   in   the
   telecommunications  sector on the issues identified in  the  Commission's
   Communication of October 1992.  In particular, views were welcomed on the
   four  options outlined in the Communication and, more generally,  on  the
   future direction of telecommunications policy in the EC.

   Indeed,  the  oral and written comments received by the  Commission  have
   helped it to refine and re-focus on the areas in which further action  is
   most appropriate and urgent.

   (1) COM(93) 159

   The public consultation was largely completed by the end of January.  The
   Commission has received more than 80 written comments from companies  and
   individuals,   and   European  industry   associations.  These   included
   contributions  from  a large number of  user  associations  (representing
   large,  medium  and  small  users) and  large  commercial  users  in  the
   manufacturing and services sectors; from the European  Telecommunications
   Network  Operators  association  and  the  majority  of   Community-based
   Telecommunications  organisations  (TOs) individually, from  existing  or
   potential  new  service providers, and from  manufacturing  associations,
   individual   equipment   manufacturers,  the   Joint   Telecommunications
   Committee representing telecommunications organisations and trade unions,
   and from consumer organisations.

   In additions to the written comments, the consultations involved a series
   of   hearings  with  different  interest  groups:  individual  users   of
   telecommunications  services and user associations; the chairmen  of  the
   Community's TOs; service providers and potential new entrants;  equipment
   manufacturers  and trade unions. More than 130 organisations  particpated
   in total.

   The Commission has also worked closely in carrying out the  consultations
   with the Ad Hoc High Level Committee of National Regulators set up by the
   Telecommunications Council of November 1992.

   On  20th  April  1993  the  European  Parliament,  adopted  a  Resolution
   supporting the Review process.


      General consensus has been achieved on the following:

      = Liberalisation of telecommunications services is both inevitable and
        necessary  to  meet technological and market demands; and  there  is
        broad  agreement  on  the date of 1998  for  liberalisation  of  all

        Some  organisations,  particularly  business  users  and   potential
        entrants,   wanted   liberalisation   before   1998,   some   wanted
        postponement,  but  it was generally recognised that  an  adjustment
        period  was  required and that the 5 year period to 1998  was  about
        An additional transitional period will be possible for peripheral or
        less developed networks.

      = There  was  consensus  on  the need for  a  clear  timetable  to  be
        established now.

        This timetable will provide a phased approach to liberalisation with
        an  appropriate  preparatory  period  to  carry  out  the  necessary

        A  number  of  issues  must be addressed  in  order  to  achieve  an
        effective and acceptable liberalisation.  These issues include:

      * Universal  service.  This needs to ensure availability,  reliability
        and affordability of telephone service throughout the Community;

      * Maintaining  the  financial  stability  of  the   telecommunications
        sector,  in particular, to ensure the ability of  telecommunications
        organisations   to   provide  universal   service   by   maintaining
        investments.  The  role of access charges will have to be  developed
        in this context;

      * The  right conditions and transitional arrangements  for  peripheral
        regions and countries with small and less developed networks;

      * Developing the legal framework for licensing within the framework of
        the Single Market.

      General  concern was also expressed about  international  developments
      and, in particular, the GATT negotiations.

      The    objective   of   the   Commission   is   that   the    European
      telecommunications sector must have equivalent opportunities abroad to
      those offered to foreign businesses by liberalisation here.

      The  Commission believes that the solutions it has put forward in  its
      report to the Telecommunications Council will allow:

      = Liberalisation  to  proceed  by  January 1998  on  the  basis  of  a
        commitment by Telecommunication organisations  (TOs) and  regulators
        to rebalance tariff structures during the preparatory period;

      = Special arrangements and transitional periods to be put in place for
        the  peripheral regions and countries with small and less  developed

      = The development of a balanced international environment through  the
        current GATT negotiations; and

      = Discussion on the future role of public infrastructure with a  Green
        Paper by 1995.

   The  Commission believes with regard to infrastructure  regulation,  that
   the  general question of the future regulation of  public  infrastructure
   should be addressed within the context of a Green Paper.

   The  full application by Member States of existing Community  legislation
   and,  in  particular, in relation to corporate networks and  closed  user
   groups  is a priority objective.  However, the Commission also  considers
   that  the early use of infrastructures limited to own applications or  to
   provision of capacity for corporate networks and closed user groups could
   substantially  reinforce  the effect of this legislation  in  this  area,
   subject  to  additional study on the effects of such a  measure.  Such  a
   measure  would  be essential for catching up with the United  States  and
   Japan particularly in the fields of high speed advanced applications, and
   the  full  use of the results of Community research  programmes  in  this

   The  Commission also believes that the use of cable-TV networks  for  the
   provision of services currently liberalised should be considered.

   The major steps in the proposed schedule are summarized hereafter:
   (see annex)



   -  Green Paper on Telecoms

   -  Directive 88/301/EEC liberalising terminal equipments

   -  Directive  90/388/EEC liberalising all telecoms services except  voice
      telephony for the public

   -  1992 Review Communication


   -  Consultations on Review and communications
   -  Green Paper on Mobile and Personal Communications

   -  Accelerated adoption of proposals in fields of:
        - ONP voice
        - liberalisation of satellite communications
        - mutual recognition of licences

   -  Further development of principles of:
        - universal service
        - interconnection
        - access charges
        - licensing

   -  Adaptation plans for accelerated development and special  arrangements
      for peripheral regions and small or less developed networks

   -  Examination  of  progress  and structural  adjustments  in  peripheral
      regions   and  small  and  less  developed  networks  where   specific
      difficulties are being experienced - with the possibility of a 2  year
      additional transition period before full liberalisation

   -  Use  of  alternative  infrastructure  for  telecoms  services  already
      liberalised (subject to further studies)

   -  Green  Paper  on  future of public  network  telecommunications  infra
      structure and Cable TV

   -  Working  out the framework for the regulation of public network  infra
      structure following consultation on the Green Paper

   -  Full liberalisation of public voice telephony service

                                     * * *

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