Shares

The EU issued a press release on 2 October, pointing out its work on a Legislative proposal for BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The need for BEREC arises from European Parliament’s recognition on 19 January 2016 that:

whilst welcoming the Commission communication, Parliament considered that achieving a Digital Single Market, based on a common set of rules, could foster EU competitiveness, have positive effects on growth and jobs, relaunch the Single Market and make society more inclusive, offering new opportunities to citizens and businesses, especially by exchanging and sharing innovation. Noting that 75 % of the value added by the digital economy comes from traditional industry, Parliament called on Europe to use the great potential of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to digitise the industry and maintain global competitiveness.

More than a year later, European Parliament is now moving towards organising BEREC, a body that is deliberately kept from the influence of member states:

Further safeguards are also introduced regarding the “structural” independence of BEREC.
Guaranteeing the independence of BEREC implies that it neither seeks nor takes instruction
from a government or any other executive power.

The press release points out that the EU’s telecom market reforms aim to stimulate competition and reduce differences in practices among national antitrust bodies, encourage bigger and longer-term investments in network infrastructures and provide consumers with faster connections, including 5G. Why two and three should be government tasks is not explained.

It also says MEPs want:

want the use of end-to-end encryption to be mandatory to protect the confidentiality of communications. Users should be informed of risks resulting from a security incident and possible protective measures or solutions that they can take.

and what is called a ‘reverse 112 system’, which would enable

national authorities to alert citizens in the event of imminent major emergencies and disasters, such as a terrorist attack or a natural catastrophe, using geo-localisation tools. This system aims to reduce casualties by instructing people on what to do if they are in danger“,

which seems a bit detrimental to privacy. It is as of yet unclear if this is an extra system, or that it’s supposed to replace methods of warning people of danger that have been in place since the Cold War.

The press release opens, however, by claiming that

The objective is to improve access to networks across the EU, including making 5G connections available to all citizens,

before threatening that

EU communications companies should justify when they charge additional fees to users calling from mobiles or landlines to another EU member state, committee MEPs agreed. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) would set out guidelines on how service providers could recover the costs they incur in other ways.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, everybody who wants to make ‘long distance’calls uses VoIP-programmes. The EU: proud to be a 1970’s solution to a 1950’s problem solved since the 1990’s.