Saturday 29 May 2010

EU telecom markets: “Is there progress?”

In How silly can it get? Consumers facing telecoms markets in EU (28 May 2010) we looked at one concrete example: the trouble and cost for Henrik Alexandersson, an expat worker in the European Parliament.

The personal summary of top euroblogger Julien Frisch (28 May 2010) on the EU’s 15th progress report on the single European electronic communications market was simple and effective:

My own progress report on European electronic communication: Is there progress?

I still have to find a national operator when I move to another EU country instead of having one European mobile phone operator with the same prices and services wherever I am.

Free movement

Mobility and the internal market are the main benefits of the European Union for people and businesses, we are told.

Few first lectures about the EU fail to mention:

… an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured ...

Fact or fiction?

15th progress report

Yes, we have advanced to the 15th progress report on EU telecom markets, but ─ as Julien said ─ where is the progress?

This leads to a number of questions, worth discussion, in these times when ever fewer people leave home without a 3G mobile phone and a notebook, enabling and requiring data services.

Where are the voices of business travelers, mobile workers and students, as well as tourists? Say something, do something!

Why are the national politicians and regulators allowed to drag their feet? Are businesses and consumers sheep?

Have people found alternative ways to cope with the difficulties caused by the fragmented electronic communications markets? Do you buy 27 pre-paid cards for your grand tour of the European Union? Do you find free wireless networks (wi-fi; WLAN) wherever you go?

Hoping to hear from you.

Telecommunications Council

By the way, the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council meets on Monday, 31 May 2010.

Information society commissioner Neelie Kroes will present the Digital Agenda for Europe, and the Council will adopt conclusions.

According to the background note, the TTE Council endorses an ambitious agenda. (Is anyone dedicated enough to check which words they used the fourteen previous times they studied the progress report?)

There will be an exchange of views on the "European Code of rights of users of electronic communications services", a pet project of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The laudable aim of the policy debate is to contribute to simple and easily accessible information for EU citizens on their rights established in the Regulatory framework for electronic communications and services and other relevant EU legislation.

There are no links or document references in the TTE Council background note to the draft conclusions on the Digital Agenda or the proposed users’ code.

However, we can rest assured that nothing is more important for the 27 governments representing 27 different markets than ambitious action and simple and accessible information for EU citizens ─ every year.

Ralf Grahn

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