[connect-bof] Regulation proposed by European Commission

Gordon Lennox gordon.lennox.13 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 22 12:55:35 CEST 2013


Just before Athens and in the margins of the meeting itself I had various brief exchanges on this and so I thought it useful to bring the various things together and to try and give some pointers.

I am not sure which group is better. So I am sending it to both the Cooperation WG and the Connect BOF at this stage.

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The basic Brussels problem is that they still have not managed to do Internet and telecoms policy as a coherent whole.

People there tend not come to RIPE, or any similar Internet meetings. The few who do internet-related things have tended to go to ICANN, where of course the emphasis has been on new gTLDs, and to the IGF, which was defined as having "no negotiated outcomes". Which can all seen as adequate as there is no intention to regulate the Internet in the EU!

Meanwhile there is a much larger group working on EU telecoms regulation which is done without significant reference to the Internet and yet with serious lobbying from ETNO and GSMA. Even ETSI has its Brussels person.

The result has been texts and proposals that Internet people have found confusing or even potentially dangerous.

Confusing? A few years ago there was a major study on "IP Interconnection". Because there were major problems with IP interconnection? If I remember correctly the way in was given by Daniel Karrenberg who suggested that if you changed the title of the study it made more sense. It was not about IP interconnection: it was about the interconnection of telecoms services over IP networks. Not exactly the same thing.

Dangerous? I think it was folk from the CENTR community who saw the problem. While the Commission said they had no intent of regulating certain Internet things, and so had not looked in that direction, CENTR lawyers felt their text could be interpreted as applying to the DNS and TLDs. The problem is though that regulations are for regulators and the courts to interpret. And they are not going to run back to Brussels and ask what they really meant.

So now we have a new proposed regulation.

I should mention that once "regulations" are adopted by the European Parliament and the Council that is it. "Regulations" are unlike "directives" where Member States then have to transpose the texts into their national legislation. There is also the point that next year sees elections for the Parliament and a new Commission which will obviously influence the timetable.

There are a number of aspects which should be of interest to this community:

** the Commission's view of the sector. The telecoms sector is in a bad way? But if helped it will do good things?

** market consolidation. This is a big part of the answer?

** interconnection. Needs to be regulated? But at which layer and between who?

** network neutrality & the open internet v. specialised services

** ... and so on

The press release or "memo" provide perhaps the easier ways in:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-828_en.htm

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-779_en.htm

But the "communication" is probably better:

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/communication-commission-european-parliament-council-european-economic-and-social-committee-a-0

Then the proposed Regulation is where the meat is:

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/regulation-european-parliament-and-council-laying-down-measures-concerning-european-single

If you only read one text though then the proposed Regulation is the best.

There is a link to the text of the new Regulation, and all the other various associated documents, here:

http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/connected-continent-single-telecom-market-growth-jobs

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So the formal title and a few semi-random extracts:

Brussels, 11.9.2013
COM(2013) 627 final
2013/0309 (COD)

Proposal for a
REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic
communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives
2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU)
No 531/2012

<<Today, Europe is fragmented into 28 separate national communications markets, each with a
limited number of players. As a consequence, while no operator is present in more than half
of the Member States, most in far fewer, overall more than 200 operators serve a market of
510 million of customers. EU rules on, for example, authorisations, regulatory conditions,
spectrum assignment and consumer protection are implemented in diverging ways. This
patchy scenario raises barriers to entry and increases the costs for operators wanting to
provide cross-border services thereby impeding their expansion. This stands in stark contrast
with the US or China who have one single market of 330 and 1400 million customers
respectively, served by four to five large operators, with one legislation, one licensing system,
and one spectrum policy.>>

<<A right for electronic communications providers to offer and access on reasonable
terms harmonised connectivity products with assured service quality to enable new
types of online services.>>

<<In a context of progressive migration to 'all IP networks', the lack of availability of
connectivity products based on the IP protocol for different classes of services with
assured service quality that enable communication paths across network domains and
across network borders, both within and between Member States, hinders the
development of applications that rely on access to other networks, thus limiting
technological innovation. Moreover, this situation prevents the diffusion on a wider
scale of efficiencies which are associated with the management and provision of IP-based
networks and connectivity products with an assured service quality level, in
particular enhanced security, reliability and flexibility, cost-effectiveness and faster
provisioning, which benefit network operators, service providers and end users. A
harmonised approach to the design and availability of these products is therefore
necessary, on reasonable terms including, where requested, the possibility of crosssupply
by the electronic communications undertakings concerned.>>

<<"assured service quality (ASQ) connectivity product" means a product that is made
available at the internet protocol (IP) exchange, which enables customers to set up an IP
communication link between a point of interconnection and one or several fixed network
termination points, and enables defined levels of end to end network performance for the
provision of specific services to end users on the basis of the delivery of a specified
guaranteed quality of service, based on specified parameters;>>


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So one might ask what "four to five large operators" would mean for the public Internet in this region.

The second point says an awful lot in a few words!

The third point may not make sense if you think in Internet terms. But if you sprinkle "telecoms" throughout then you may see better where they are coming from.

Point four? An "internet protocol (IP) exchange" is not an IXP?

There are other points elsewhere that you might find more interesting of course.

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Meanwhile from the European Parliament web-site:

<<Public stakeholder consultation on Telecoms Regulation

Ms Pilar del Castillo (EPP), the newly appointed ITRE Rapporteur on the recently proposed Telecoms Regulation is launching a public stakeholder consultation to benefit from the input of consumers, national regulators, industry stakeholders and other interested parties, not least NGOs, in the work of the ITRE Committee.

The Rapporteur would welcome this stakeholder input on the Commission proposal by 5 November 2013.

For more information on the proposal consult EC website.

ITRE Secretariat contacts: Peter Traung and Elina Kaartinen>>

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/itre/home.html

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So suggestions.

I would hope others will take the time to read at least some of the material. And with a red-pen or text-marker! By the way the texts are available in other languages.

I think though leaving any community discussion to Warsaw is probably taking a risk.

I think a discussion here would be much better. 

If people then feel they have concerns then there are two approaches:

** individuals and organisation contacting their Ministry/Regulator and/or MEP.

** or a community input with the help of NCC.

One does not preclude the other. But even putting down a marker can be useful.

Enough for now?

Gordon




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