The Financial Times is reporting that the European Commissioner, Viviane Reding, is due to release proposals next month which will create a European telecoms regulator to advise the Commission. The new regulator would have a task of improving consistency of rules across the EU, helping smaller operators challenge the national monopolies and also boosting development of ultra-fast broadband networks.
A draft of the proposal has been distributed around Brussels and Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, is concerned that the Commission could secure a veto right for any measures put forward by national watchdogs, undermining their position.
"The harmonisation of regulation across Europe works only when it respects the freedom of independent national regulators to respond to conditions in their own markets."
The revised EU telecoms framework must "strike the right balance between promoting consistency and harmonisation in European regulation, and the need to reflect different conditions in national markets".Ed Richard (Chief Executive), Ofcom
Whilst it seems like this could be good to encourage broadband development, concern is justified as the rules set out by the EU are not necessarily coherent with what is required in every member state. With a right to veto what goes on everywhere, member states could find themselves unable to adapt suitably to what the market requires as it does not fit with European policy or their time frame.
A majority of member states and the European parliament must back the new telecoms framework, and it would be unlikely to come into effect until 2009 at the earliest.