Informations and abstract
In July 2000 the European Commission presented a proposal for a new Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications Infrastructure and Associated Services. This new package has three purposes: to respond to technological convergence by making regulation horizontal, to simplify the existing rules by reducing the number of legislative texts, and to deal with the uncertainties of a rapidly evolving industry by allowing for a gradual roll-back of the remaining regulation. The new framework therefore covers all converging networks - publicly switched telephony, IP, cable TV, mobile, terrestrial broadcasting - but applies only to the transmission layer, not to the content. It attempts to strike a balance between the legal certainty of ex ante regulation and the flexibility of ex post application of competition law, and between the need for common rules and the adaptability to local conditions. To do so, it provides for the Commission to issue a Decision on markets where regulation is likely to be necessary, but for the national authorities to regularly analyse these markets and to decide which measures, if any, to take. Within this approach, the key elements for relations between market participants and public authorities are market definition, the concept of significant market power, and the imposition of obligations on undertakings found to possess significant market power. The new framework also deals with a host of other issues mostly concerned with the relations between service providers and consumers, including licensing conditions, universal service, location data, spamming and must carry.