EU Telecom Package To Enter Into Force In December24/11/2009 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 CommentsShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.The European Parliament today formally approved an update to European telecommunications rules aimed at enforcing consumer rights and supporting a single European market. But the change might also leave the door open for legislation restricting the internet in member countries and potentially questionable traffic management practice by internet service providers, according to a consumer group.The European Parliament formally approved with “a broad majority” the European Union telecommunications networks and services rules, the so-called “telecom package,” two years after the European Commission proposed changes in those rules in November 2007, according to the EU website.The reform had to be approved by both the EU Parliament and the European Council of Ministers, and one amendment about internet freedom had to go through a conciliation committee on 5 November, according to an EU press release.Among the prominent reforms in the text cited by the EU release are the improvement of consumer information, the protection of citizen’s rights relating to internet access by a new internet freedom provision, the protection of consumers against personal data breaches and spam, the creation of a new European telecommunications authority ensuring fair competition and more consistency of regulation on the telecom markets, and accelerated broadband access for all Europeans, according to the EU release.According to La Quadrature du Net, the approved final text “could represent a step backwards in many member states with regards to the defence of the fundamental right of access to internet.” The advocacy group said the internet freedom provision included in the text “leaves the door open for restrictions of internet connections without a prior judicial decision.” (IPW, Information and Communications Technology/ Broadcasting, 10 November 2009)But EU Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding insisted, “’Three-strikes-laws’, which could cut off internet access without a prior fair and impartial procedure or without effective and timely judicial review, will certainly not become part of European law.”However La Quadrature du Net said some “loopholes and threats to fundamental rights” remain. The group added that the United States was about to mandate internet neutrality for fixed and wireless internet service providers but European lawmakers had failed to enforce that right as the “Commission’s declaration on net neutrality added to the telecoms package does not have any normative effect.”The EU telecom reform package includes five EU directives. These include: the Framework Directive, the Access Directive, the Authorisation Directive, the Universal Service Directive and the e-Privacy Directive, and also a new regulation setting up the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), the telecom body.According to the EU, the next steps are the entry into force of the whole telecoms reform package in December 2009, the establishment of the BEREC in the spring of 2010, and the transposition of the package into national legislation in the 27 EU member states by June 2011.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."EU Telecom Package To Enter Into Force In December" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.