Today's Official Journal of the European Union contains the two EC Directives amending the regulatory framework for electronic communications, and the EC Regulation establishing BEREC.
The BEREC Regulation enters into force within 20 days, i.e. on 7 January 2010, but it is clear that the European Regulators Group will continue to operate in parallel for a considerable period of time.
The Directives enter into force tomorrow (19 December 2009), with a deadline for transposition into the national law of the Member States on 25 May 2011.
Directive 2009/140/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 amending Directives 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services, 2002/19/EC on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities, and 2002/20/EC on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services.
Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services, Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
The European Commission has also adopted a Decision amending the
Decisions establishing the Radio Spectrum Policy Group.
The package published today also includes a European Commission "Declaration on Net Neutrality", which reads as follows:
The Commission attaches high importance to preserving the open and neutral character of the Internet, taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle to be promoted by national regulatory authorities (1), alongside the strengthening of related transparency requirements (2) and the creation of safeguard powers for national regulatory authorities to prevent the degradation of services and the hindering or slowing down of traffic over public networks (3). The Commission will monitor closely the implementation of these provisions in the Member States, introducing a particular focus on how the ‘net freedoms’ of European citizens are being safeguarded in its annual Progress Report to the European Parliament and the Council. In the meantime, the Commission will monitor the impact of market and technological developments on ‘net freedoms’ reporting to the European Parliament and Council before the end of 2010 on whether additional guidance is required, and will invoke its existing competition law powers to deal with any anti-competitive practices that may emerge.
(1) Article 8(4)(g) Framework Directive.
(2) Articles 20(1)(b) and 21(3)(c) and (d) of the Universal Service Directive.
(3) Article 22(3) of the Universal Service Directive.
For a discussion of these matters, please contact Yves Blondeel.