Ofcom wary of EU broadband reforms

Ofcom has warned that a forthcoming reform of EU telecoms regulations could undermine its position.

Ofcom wary of EU broadband reforms

The European Commissioner, Viviane Reding, is due to unveil proposals to expand the EC’s power over the telecoms industry next month. Likely suggestions include a veto over legislation by national watchdogs, and the creation of a European regulator to act as an advisory body to the Commission.

Reding says the reforms will improve consistency of regulation across the EU, improve competition and, crucially, spur development of ultra-fast broadband networks, which could prove a sticking point for Ofcom, which has already laid out its resistance to the fibre solution currently doing the rounds in Europe.

Speaking to the Financial Times Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, argues, “the harmonisation of regulation across Europe works only when it respects the freedom of independent national regulators to respond to conditions in their own markets.”

He goes on to say that the proposals must “strike the right balance between promoting consistency and harmonisation in European regulation, and the need to reflect different conditions in national markets”.

The statement echoes the stance laid out by Ofcom in the consultation paper on fibre issued in September, in which it argues that “conditions in the UK are very different to those countries where investment in fibre has already been strong.”

It cites “the high speeds of current broadband enabled by shorter distances from exchanges and the comparatively high population densities in countries where fibre is advancing fastest.”

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