Today the European Parliament voted in favour of establishing a European Electronic Communications Code and a body of European regulators for electronic communications, as proposed by the European Commission in September 2016, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcomed the outcome in a joint statement:
"Today's vote by the European Parliament is a positive and necessary step towards ensuring that the telecoms sector in the EU is fit for purpose. The new telecoms rules that will now be put in place as a result, are an essential building block for Europe's digital future and a source of new digital rights for European citizens. They are crucial for meeting Europeans' growing connectivity needs and boosting Europe's competitiveness. In addition, they allow for the groundwork to be laid for the deployment of 5G across Europe.
With these rules, we will be able to ensure faster access to radio spectrum waves, a key resource for mobile communications, and boost investment in high-speed and high-quality networks in every corner of the EU, including in remote areas. Consumers will be better protected and enjoy better services, irrespective of whether they use traditional calls, SMS, or web-based services such as Skype and WhatsApp. They will have access to affordable communications services, including universally available internet, and services such as eGovernment, online banking and video calls. As of May 2019, people will be able to make calls to other EU countries for a maximum of 19 cents a minute and send SMS for 6 cents. Citizens will also be better protected in emergency situations via the 112 number, in particular by the transmission of public warnings on mobile phones.
The new telecoms rules are also a source of inspiration. Let us show the same level of ambition in updating the ePrivacy Directive. This is needed in order to modernise the rules of confidentially in the digital age, which urgently need to be aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation – the new world-class standard for data protection – and also to cover everyday tools such as instant messaging, voice over IP and web-based e-mail".
After today's adoption by the European Parliament, the Council of the EU will formally adopt the Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the Regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) on 3 December. Once it is published in the EU Official Journal, Member States will have two years to transpose the Code into national law.
Following today's adoption of the BEREC regulation by the European Parliament and the Council's adoption on 3 December the new rules will enter into force on the third day following its publication in the Official Journal. The provisions on the intra-EU calls will apply from 15 May 2019.
At work, at home or on the move, Europeans expect an internet connection that is fast and reliable. Very high-capacity networks are increasingly important for education, healthcare, manufacturing and transport. To meet these challenges and prepare for Europe's digital future, in September 2016 the Commission proposed the Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the Regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The Code will modernise the current EU telecoms rules, which were last updated in 2009, stimulate competition to drive investments, and strengthen the internal market and consumer rights.
In June 2018 the EU co-legislators reached a political agreement on these rules.
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