11/9/2009 12:29:00 PM
EU clinches telecoms reform package
The European Union (EU) has clinched a deal on a telecoms reform package, after an initial delay.
A committee made of EU Government representatives, members of the European Parliament and the European Commission (EC), reached the agreement after sending the bill back in May when concerns were raised over the rights of internet users.
The proposed reform aims to give customers more contractual rights, and also set up a pan-EU ‘super regulator’ to ensure rules are applied.
Reforms will start in earnest, beginning with reducing the length of time involved in number porting to one day, setting a maximum length of 24 months for contracts and offering consumers greater transparency on the conditions when terminating contracts.
In May, The EU Parliament voted 407 in favour, 57 against and with 171 abstentions on an amendment to strengthen the rights of internet users.
The lawmakers wanted to make it harder for the authorities to cut off internet access for any subscriber suspected of breaches such as illegal downloading of copyright material.
According to EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding (pictured), the proposed package now contains adequate safeguards to protect users from arbitrary cut-offs of their internet services.
The deal, reached by a ‘conciliatory committee’ last week, allows the parliament and the council of EU telecoms ministers another eight weeks to pass the final text without making any amendments.
The reforms could come into force in early 2010. They will become national law in each of the 27 member nations by May 2011.