European OTT portability plan inches forward

The plan to allow European subscribers of OTT services to use their subscriptions on holiday has taken one more tiny step towards fruition.

For anything to get done within the Eurocracy a procession of distinct organisations all have to take their turn to sign it off, each stage usually being quite protracted. This initiative has been kicking around Brussels for some time but was formally proposed by the European Commission last February and then rubber stamped by the European Parliament last month.

Now it’s the turn of the European Council, which is proud to announce it has ‘adopted its position on the directive’. “It is an ambitious yet a delicate and balanced compromise that is about guaranteeing rights for European consumers while allowing for the possibility to create new business opportunities for EU companies through the promotion of innovation and competition,” said someone at the Council.

The adopted position covers the following elements of the directive:

  • What it covers – i.e. what services qualify. This is mainly so-called OTTs and covers both subscription and ‘free’ services. There are some free services that are not covered by the directive but even after repeated reading of the caveat we’re no closer to understanding which they are.
  • What happens if a service provider doesn’t conform.
  • Deadlines for conforming. The supplier also has a year to come up with an excuse if it doesn’t conform.

Of course this is far from the end of the process. Apparently the rubber stamping was just the start of the Parliament’s involvement and now it too needs to ‘adopt its position’, which presumably involves reclining with a glass of Bordeaux. Once that is done, which is not expected to happen for several months yet, the Council and the Parliament will commence negotiations. Yes, seriously.

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