EU regulators favour pro-competitive approach to Internet telephony
Info zo zahraničia | www.europa.eu.int
“Voice over Internet Protocol has the potential to radically change the existing market structure”: this has been stressed today by the European Regulators Group (ERG), which brings together the 25 national regulatory authorities responsible for electronic communication markets. Meeting in Brussels, the ERG adopted a common statement on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services in order to facilitate the roll out and widespread use of Internet telephony in Europe. The European Commission itself favours an EU-wide “light touch” approach to Internet telephony as the best way to encourage competition between internet carriers of telephone traffic and traditional telephone networks.
“I intend to strongly promote an open, pro-competitive approach to Voice over IP in all 25 Member States of the European Union, and I therefore welcome today’s first positive joint signal from the national regulators”, said Commissioner Viviane Reding, responsible for Information Society and Media. “I expect Voice over IP to lead to more diverse and innovative services in the market which may well have an even bigger impact on consumers and businesses than email. And Voice over IP is just the tip of the iceberg. IP-based networks and services will be the basis for a whole new range of communications services, not only benefiting consumers directly, but feeding through directly to the whole economy. I am convinced that, as the market develops, the European Commission and national regulators will jointly ensure that throughout the EU, the roll-out of new IP-based services will not be hindered by regulatory hurdles.”
Until recently, VoIP was essentially a niche phenomenon (similarly to email and the internet a decade ago), but it now has hit the mainstream consumer and business markets. As IP technology becomes a widespread phenomenon, today’s telephone networks will be completely restructured, making the EU’s electronic communications infrastructure more flexible and cost-efficient.
The Commission conducted a public consultation on VoIP in June 2004, which sought to clarify the regulatory issues related to VoIP services. Commissioner Reding and her services will build on the results of this consultation in the months to come and closely work together with national regulators to ensure that Internet telephony will be able to unfold its considerable potential for enhancing innovation and competitive market entry in the electronic communications sector.