MaryLou: What point BEREC?


For what seems like the first time, European Union telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has not got her way.

When in 2007 Reding pushed for reform of the telecoms industry, which would see the creation of a pan-European “super-regulator” in 2010, she was adamant the new body would have the ultimate power of overturning decisions made by regulators in individual EU nations.

It was Reding’s signature way (defiant, heavy handed) of ensuring markets continue to embrace competition and innovation, and, of course, cut prices to keep consumers happy.

Admittedly, Reding has done some good in her relentless campaign to bring down EU calling, data and SMS roaming costs.

But with her main ambition now scrapped at the protest of Ofcom and fellow European country regulators, it calls the purpose of this new “super-regulator”, or BEREC as it stands to be named, into question.

Because any recommendations it makes to individual countries don’t legally have to be implemented.

It’s like a boss giving orders to his subordinates and them choosing whether to go ahead and do them.

BEREC’s press department is going to have to work overtime to show what good BEREC is achieving in terms of a more efficient, unified European telecoms market, to justify the resources that will be poured into it; namely the salaries to be paid to each nation’s representative that it will comprise.