Network Related Items

THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CODE

The (draft) Electronic Communications Code recasts the current EU Telecoms Regulatory Framework into a single legal text (with the exclusion of the ePrivacy Directive).

The initial Commission’s proposal, published by the Commission in 2016 was accompanied by non-binding targets for a Gigabit Society, a 5G Action Plan and (at the time) a draft regulation on the deployment of local WiFI networks (WIFI4EU)

The Commission had four stated objectives with the proposed Code: the access and take up of very high capacity connectivity, the promotion of competition, the promotion of the internal market by investment in networks and the interests of the citizen. From the beginning, Cable Europe has highlighted that the European cable industry is a major actor in the European digital landscape and therefore a key partner in delivering the Commission’s ambitions.

Cable Europe has also highlighted that the answer of how to best promote competition and the necessary investments in Europe’s gigabit networks, lies in three core ingredients:

Stable, tried and tested rules which are proven to be effective: sector specific competition concepts strictly aligned with general competition rules;

Clarity: Third party access imposed on operators with Significant Market Power (SMP) when there is a persistent market failure and following an in-depth market analysis;

Proportionality: Third party access which is further imposed on any player big or small should be limited to very specific situations, such as in-house broadband wiring.


THE TELECOM SINGLE MARKET (Net Neutrality) REGULATION

The Telecoms Single Market Regulation (‘TSM’ Regulation 2015/2120) enshrines the principle of net neutrality into EU law. It outlaws blocking, throttling and discrimination of internet traffic by ISPs except for complying with legal obligations, for preserving the integrity and the security of the networks and for managing congestion in exceptional and temporary situations.

At the same time, the EU rules allow internet access providers and providers of content and applications to offer specialised services under specific quality requirements, as long as there is sufficient network capacity and the availability or general quality of internet access services for end-users is not negatively impacted. The Commission is expected to evaluate the application of the EU TSM Regulation by April 20, 2019.

As required by the TSM Regulation, BEREC adopted in 2016 a set of guidelines on the implementation of the net neutrality provisions to ensure a consistent application of the EU rules across all the Member States. Cable Europe has responded to BEREC’s public consultation that has led to the adoption of the guidelines. More recently, in April 2018, Cable Europe submitted, together with ETNO and GSMA, a joint response to BEREC’s public consultation on the application of the Regulation and of the Guidelines.

Cable Europe is also following closely the developments at national level involving the application of the EU net neutrality rules as well as BEREC’s activities, especially the harmonisation of internet services QoS measurement methods.

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