The European Union plans to create a single market for telecom services in the 28-country bloc, a Commission spokesman said on Tuesday (September 10).
The comments follow Monday's news that the EU's telecoms chief may have to redraw part of her plan to boost broadband speeds and forge a cross-continent market because of opposition to parts critics say could give unfair advantages to big operators.
European telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes this year announced a 10-step plan to boost investment in infrastructure and make sure EU citizens can download data from the Internet as quickly as their counterparts in Asia and North America.
But as many as nine commissioners have already objected to the plans, particularly parts to encourage telecoms companies to set up large operations spanning the bloc's borders.
According to a Commission draft seen by Reuters, Kroes wants telecoms companies and content providers to be able to sign agreements with each other as long as such deals do not "substantially impair the quality of Internet access services".
European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said the focus of the deal remained the cross-continent market.
"The main objective of the proposals is to find a proper way so that we do no longer deal with 28 telecom national markets -whether you are business telecom operator, a citizen, consumer - but that you benefit from the size of our internal market and you take all the benefits from that, not only in terms of prices but also in terms of services, in terms of possibility for businesses to invest at a broader scale and also to make sure that we have all the infrastructure related to this market," Bailly told a daily briefing.
Kroes' blueprint for a single telecoms market, which also covers mobile spectrum and price regulation, comes as the telecoms industry struggles with falling revenues, stringent regulation and fierce competition.
Presented by Adam Justice