Critics slam European telecoms reform bill

10 September 2013 | Kavit Majithia


The EU telecoms reform bill could be redrawn after critics claimed the new plans could give operators an unfair advantage, according to a senior EU Commission official.

Capacity reported yesterday on the 10-year plan from Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes, which was intended to boost infrastructure in Europe and allow for better consumer rates.

According to Reuters, up to nine commissioners have objected to the plan and there has been further widespread opposition to the idea that telecoms companies could charge content providers and consumers for using internet services.

Reports claim Kroes wants OTT players and operators to sign agreements and only strike deals that do not “substantially impair the quality of internet access services”.

However, analysts have claimed this could conflict with net neutrality laws, which maintain the idea that all data should be traded and treated fairly and equally.

Kroes is set to present the proposal tomorrow, and senior commission officials met yesterday to discuss the plans.

According to an official, the biggest concern for commissioners is the issue of net neutrality.

“Eight to nine commissioners have expressed serious doubt. Everything is up for discussion,” he said.

The plans for a single market also cover pricing regulation and mobile spectrum in Europe, in an attempt to offset falling revenues and stringent regulation in the market.

The proposal will have to be approved by 28 EU countries and the European parliament before it can become law.