04 December 2008

EU - News

Brussels, 28 November 2008
Broadband: Gap between best and worst performing countries in Europe narrowing

Broadband penetration in Europe continues to grow, from 18.2% in July 2007 to up to 21.7% in July 2008, according to a report published today by the European Commission. The report also shows the gap between EU countries narrowing, from 28.4 percentage points in July 2007 to 27.7 this July. With 17 million fixed broadband lines laid in a year, today's figures show high-speed internet in the EU is more widespread and faster, while mobile broadband is starting to take off, with 6.9% penetration. Three quarters of broadband lines in the EU have download speeds of 2 millions of bits per second (Mbps) and above, a speed that supports TV over the Internet, for example.

"Broadband growth remains strong, with the top EU countries firmly remaining world leaders in broadband penetration," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "I am also glad that other countries in Europe are catching up. Under the European Economic Recovery Plan presented by the Commission this week, we plan to channel a further € 1 billion of EU funding into High-speed Internet infrastructures. I expect that this additional measure, together with a strong policy emphasis on effective competition and further market opening, will pave the way for 'Broadband for all Europeans' by 2010; and for 'High-speed Internet for all Europeans' by 2015."

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Brussels, 3 December 2008
Telecoms: Commission concerned over German regulator's failure to notify mobile termination rates

The European Commission, in a letter made public today, requested the German telecoms regulator, Bundesnetzagentur ("BNetzA"), to notify it of all German mobile operators' termination rates, the wholesale tariffs charged by the operator of a customer receiving a phone call to the operator of the caller's network. Mobile termination rates are relatively high in Germany compared to several other Member States. The Commission underlines that these rates need to be notified to it under the EU telecoms rules ("Article 7 procedure"). This procedure, provided for by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers since 2002, aims to ensure more coherent and transparent termination rates across Europe, thereby avoiding distortions of competition between operators from different Member States. BNetzA has failed twice, in 2006 and now again, to include these rates in its analysis of the market for wholesale mobile call termination. In its letter, the Commission therefore alerts BNetzA that in case it continues to fail to comply with this obligation, the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, will consider opening an infringement proceeding for non-compliance with EU legislation.

"I strongly advise Bundesnetzagentur to notify the termination rates of the German mobile operators to the Commission without any further delay", said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "Mobile termination rates represent a key part of the price remedy and play a key role in ensuring effective competition in the EU telecoms market. Germany cannot be granted an exemption from what is required under the EU telecoms rules and what is common practice in other Member States. The German regulator should follow the examples of other national telecoms regulators which do not only notify their cost control remedies in detail, but in some cases, such as in Italy, even promptly take the necessary regulatory measures to bring down termination rates to more competitive levels following concerns by the Commission."

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