EU telecoms regulator by 2010


Ofcom has performed an about turn and welcomed the new European Commission (EC) draft proposal to implement a pan-European telecoms regulator next year.

The UK industry regulator had criticised the original proposal by EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding (pictured) in 2007 to introduce a single telecoms watchdog for all of Europe, that would have the power to veto decisions made by individual country regulators.

Ofcom, and regulators from other EU nations, lobbied the EC for this to be removed. The revised proposal for the “super-regulator” now does not include this power.

The working title for the regulator is BEREC – the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications – and it is to comprise one member from each EU nation.

According to the latest draft proposal, if the EC does not agree with any decision made by an individual country regulator, it will be referred to BEREC. BEREC will then give a recommendation but it will not be legally binding. A further vote will be taken in May.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are pleased that significant progress has been made and that momentum is behind securing a final agreement by the summer. This paves the way for improved regulation across Europe which will benefit the UK’s consumers and businesses.”

Meanwhile, Ofcom has reduced operating costs for the fifth consecutive year, refunding £3.5 million to stakeholders. Its budget for 2009/10 will be £136.8 million, up £3.1 million.

Its priorities for the coming year include releasing new spectrum, promoting competition and innovation in converging markets, establishing clear regulation for superfast broadband, and assessing its approach to mobile through its Mobile Sector Assessment.