Market and Services

Key ongoing dossiers 

Telecoms Framework Review
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Latest developments 

March/April 2016: Commission publishes final results of Telecoms public consultations

The European Commission has published full reports on the results of two public consultations on the review of the EU telecoms framework and on broadband beyond 2020.

The high-level findings with respect to the telecoms framework:

  • Respondents felt that competition law principles and market power tests should continue to underpin the EU's regulation in this field.
  • Ubiquitous connectivity relies on a competitive environment, giving sufficient space to competition to invest.
  • The increasing role of wireless connectivity elicited views regarding predictable and coordinated spectrum management - which is seen by many as crucial in boosting digital network and services rollout, not least for facilitating and translating 5G into a success story.
  • End-user specific regulation should take into account market and technological developments. The need for policy adjustment is widely recognised in order to improve connectivity and advance the internal market.

Full report can be accessed here.

The high-level findings with respect to broadband beyond 2020:

  • A majority of respondents think they will need Gigabit and low latency, fixed connectivity by 2025.
  • The dynamics and patterns of mobile connectivity use make the speed of data flow and quality of features increasingly important.
  • There is a high correlation between respondents who are dissatisfied and pessimistic about current and/or anticipated future network provision and those that reside in rural areas.
  • Organisations expect more from the future use of the Internet than do individuals.

Full report can be accessed here.

Next steps

  • The European Commission will assess the findings of the two consultations over the coming months. They will feed into the legislative reform of the EU Telecoms Framework, that will be launched in September 2015.

We will continue to monitor the high-level policy lines of this topic and update members as appropriate.

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Previous updates 

February 2016: EC publishes preliminary findings of Telecoms Framework public consultation

The European Commission has released the preliminary findings of its recent public consultation on the revision of the EU Telecoms Framework.

You will find below the Commission’s high-level analysis. You can find more details on the respondents and their individual contributions here.

Next steps

The European Commission hopes to publish its complete findings of the public consultation before the summer recess.

A series of legislative proposals around the Telecoms Framework are expected to follow in late September 2016.

We will dedicate time to discuss the Framework review at the Amsterdam General Meeting and define EuroISPA’s level of engagement with the upcoming proposals.

The preliminary findings:

  • Network access regulation
    • Telecom users are generally in favour of the current access regulation, while some consider that the emphasis should be put on service competition rather than on the underlying infrastructure, and that the sharing of infrastructure should be emphasised.
    • A number of inputs asserted that the current regulatory framework does not much advance the internal market. There is a general perception that the regulatory framework needs to be adjusted to the current market dynamics. Many respondents however acknowledged the achievements ushered in by the liberalisation of the telecom markets, in particular in terms of end-user benefits and competition within most national markets.
    • Whereas traditional telecom companies consider that short-term economic gains have been preferred to long-term investment and innovation, alternative operators, BEREC, and consumer organisations consider that the framework has largely delivered on its current objectives.
    • The administrations of several Member States see the need for updating the telecoms rules, for reasons varying from the need to promote investment in next-generation infrastructures to the need to respond to technological and market changes. There are also calls for more flexibility in and simplification of those rules.
  • Sector-Specific regulation
    • While administrations of several Member States, the regulatory community and consumer organisations still see a need for a sector-specific end-user protection based on high-level minimum harmonisation, the telecom sector calls for more reliance on horizontal legislation and full harmonisation, especially for services. The telecom sector in general but also some administrations argue that same rules should apply to similar services while other administrations, so-called "Over-the-top" players, software and equipment vendors, cable operators and  some broadcasters are of the view that the concept of electronic communications services as currently defined has proven itself.
  • Connectivity
    • Connectivity is broadly recognised as the underlying driving force for the digital society and economy, underpinned by technological changes and evolving consumer and market demands.
    • Good connectivity is perceived as a necessary condition to achieve the Digital Single Market. Many respondents pointed to the need for policy measures and possible adjustments to current policy and regulatory tools to support the deployment of infrastructure in line with future needs.
  • Universal Service Rule
    • The vast majority of respondents consider that the review should be the opportunity completely to reconsider the universal service regime. The administrations of the Member States see the need to maintain universal service, with flexibility at Member State level on funding and application to broadband. BEREC supports maintaining the current range of Universal Service Obligation instruments.
  • Spectrum
    • On spectrum, the importance of wireless connectivity and wireless broadband are acknowledged. In general, industry is supportive of a more co-ordinated approach and seeks additional certainty for investments and possibilities to develop throughout the EU new wireless and mobile communications including 5G.
  • Institutional set up and Governance
    • While the continuing role of national regulatory authorities and spectrum management authorities is widely acknowledged, a large group of respondents highlights that the institutional set-up at EU level should be revised the better to ensure legal certainty and accountability.

February 2016: Commission releases preliminary findings of broadband provision public consultation

The European Commission has released the preliminary findings of its recent public consultation on the Needs for Internet Speed and Quality Beyond 2020.

You can find the preliminary assessment and the individual consultation responses here.

The high-level findings:

  • Most of the responses show that there is a clear need for a substantial improvement in connectivity features in the future.
  • While users perceive download speed as the most important feature of fixed connectivity today, other fixed connectivity features will gain significant importance in the future - notably upload speeds, latency, reliability and uninterrupted access.
  • Respondents seem less concerned today by specific features of mobile connectivity compared to the attention paid to those related to fixed connectivity. However, mobile connectivity's features will become increasingly important in the future.
  • Many users consider that their needs are not fully fulfilled. Their trust that sufficient future connectivity will spontaneously emerge at a level of quality and speed which would fulfill their needs is low.
  • Many respondents point to the need for policy measures to support the deployment of infrastructure in line with their future needs.

Next steps

  • The European Commission’s full assessment of the consultation will be published before the summer recess.
  • It is likely that the results of this consultation will feed into legislative proposals under the Telecoms Framework review in 2016 and in discussions around the Connecting Europe Facility work-programme for 2017.

January 2016: EuroISPA members briefed on European Commission broadband policy priorities

At the EuroISPA General Meeting in early January, members were addressed by two officials from the Broadband Unit of European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology.

During their hour-long address, Fabio Nasarre de Letosa and Filippo Munisteri covered:

  • Broadband connectivity coverage and speeds objectives under the EU framework;
  • Broadband European funding;
  • Broadband and UBB state aids rules;
  • and WISP wireless issues.

The representatives from the European Commission have kindly made their PowerPoint presentations available. Members interested in receiving a PDF copy should contact the secretariat.

December 2015: Commission closes consultation on Telecoms Framework review

On 7 December, the European Commission closed its public consultation on the EU Telecoms Framework.

The Commission will use the results to better understand what, if any, problems exist with the current framework and how they could be tackled.

The Commission will publish the preliminary results of the consultation in February 2016.

November 2015: EuroISPA continues to develop consultation response for Commission Telecoms Framework review 

EuroISPA is currently in the process of developing its response to the European Commission's public consultation on the Telecoms Framework review. Full details of the consultation can be found here. To contribute to EuroISPA's internal reflections on the Telecoms Framework consultation, please see the dedicated Market and Services committee mailing list.

November 2015The European Commission publishes new studies on broadband

The European Commission has published three new studies on broadband - focusing on speed, price and coverage.

The headline findings:

Study 1: Broadband speeds

  • EU fixed broadband customers are only getting 75% of the download speed advertised, the same as they were getting in 2013.
  • Despite continuous investment in broadband networks, which raised the average actual download speed significantly from 30 Mbps in 2013 to 38 Mbps in 2014, the difference between advertised and real speed remains constant.
  • Broadband delivered over cable and fibre-based networks was more reliable than other technologies
  • The actual download speeds in Europe remain higher than in the US.

Study 2: Broadband price

  • Despite a stabilisation in price between 2013 and 2014, broadband prices in the EU28 fell by about 12% between 2012 and 2015; the decline was particularly strong in the 30-100 Mbps speed category (by about 20% during the same period).
  • Prices vary significantly and they could be up to 300% higher for a similar service depending on the location.
  • 12-30 Mbps offers seem to offer the best value for money, while offers with speeds over 100 Mbps remain in general still relatively expensive (by 40-60% higher than 30-100Mbps offers).
  • The least expensive offers per country are, in around 80% of cases, provided by new entrants, which, however, are generally not available to all customers, because they have lower coverage than the incumbents.
  • The EU28 is less expensive than the US for broadband above 12Mbps, however South Korea and Japan are cheaper than the EU28 for broadband above 30Mbps

Study 3: Broadband coverage

  • Over 216 million EU households (99.4%) have access to at least one fixed or a mobile broadband technology at the end of 2014 (excluding satellite).
  • High speed mobile broadband (4G based on LTE) coverage went up from 59.1% in 2013 to 79.4% in 2014.
  • Next Generation Access (NGA) technologies (capable of delivering at least 30Mbps) were available to 68.1%, up from 61.9% a year ago

The full studies and their methodologies can be found here.

September 2015: Commission launches public consultation on Telecoms Framework review 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services  (also known as the telecoms framework). The objective is to gather the different views and ideas to adapt the current framework to the new technological and market developments –such as the emergence of OTTs along the value chain-. The Commission seeks input on five key challenges: Network Access Regulation, Spectrum Management, Communication Services, Universal Service (especially on the role of broadband as part of universal service) and regulatory consistency across Member States. As such, this consultation will cover the three main pillars of the framework:

  • The network pillar, with the aim to create a regulatory environment that facilitates infrastructure investments in both fix and wireless networks.
  • The service pillar, with the aim to modernise the regulatory regime for electronic communication services.
  • The governance pillar, with the aim to ensure a consistent regulatory framework across the EU, including access to spectrum.

EuroISPA is currently working to develop a consultation response through its dedicated committee mailing list.

September 2015: Commission launches public consultation on broadband provision and speed beyond 2020

The European Commission launched a public consultation on Europe’s needs for Internet speed and quality beyond 2020 – available here.

The purpose of this public consultation is to assess and understand Europe’s connectivity needs better with a view to developing public policy to accompany the deployment of adequate and future-proof connectivity networks. It concerns:

- current and future uses of Internet services and applications

- current and future connectivity needs

- views on connectivity-related public policy.

This public consultation will run until 7 December 2015

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