EU agrees on telecoms rules

Jan Harris

November 6, 2009

MEPs and EU governments have agreed a new set of rule designed to encourage innovation and investment in the telecoms industry.

The package clarifies the position regarding the right of ISPs to restrict a customer’s internet access if they are believed to be illegally downloading content.

The rules state that the decision to restrict a customer’s Internet access must be “appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society.”

In practice this will mean that ISPs can disconnect a customer from the internet if have previously sent several warnings and if they have evidence of illegal downloading, but only after users have had the opportunity to state their case and defend themselves.

This makes it likely that the government’s plan to introduce the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule in the UK will go ahead.

Another area of concern has been the potential creation of a centralised body with power to regulate the telecoms market across Europe.

Following a successful campaign by Conservative MEPs, this body will now be made up of national regulators with knowledge of local markets, rather than being dominated by the European Commission.

A final vote on the proposals will take place on 11 November.






 

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