Most of Europe fails to enact new telecom rules

The vast majority of EU member states have failed to enact new telecoms legislation so the European Commission is taking action…

…via a strongly worded letter.

The tension is palpable.

The European Union hammered out its new Electronic Communications Code over a period of a couple of years, and it finally came into force in late 2018. Member states then had another two years to implement its rules.

But, with the 21 December 2020 deadline for transposing the Code into national legislation having been and gone, only three countries have notified the European Commission that they have adopted all necessary measures and therefore fulfilled their requirements: Greece, Hungary and Finland. The other 24 are now in big trouble.

“Today, the Commission opened infringement procedures against 24 Member States for failing to enact new EU telecom rules,” the Commission said, in a statement. It has “sent letters of formal notice” to the dirty two dozen, “requesting them to adopt and notify the relevant measures.” They have two months to respond.

As one would expect, given the breadth of its scope, the Code is complex beast, and there’s a lot of it. The Commission itself describes it as a modernisation of the European regulatory framework “to enhance consumers’ choices and rights, for example by ensuring clearer contracts, quality of services, and competitive markets.”

In addition: “The Code also ensures higher standards of communication services, including more efficient and accessible emergency communications. Furthermore, it allows operators to benefit from rules incentivising investments in very-high capacity networks, as well as from enhanced regulatory predictability, leading to more innovative digital services and infrastructures,” it said.

Although most of the EU’s member states will get their wrists slapped for not fully implementing the Code, for the most part they appear to be working on it.

For example, less than a week ago Italy’s TIM noted that the terms of its newly-published fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) co-investment offer are in line with the requirements of the Code in this area.

The Code is finding its way into European telecoms markets, but there are clearly more ‘i’s to be dotted and ‘t’s to be crossed.

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