Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Proposal for European FCC

Light Reading published an article that describes the proposal that European Commissioner Viviane Reding has made for a Europe wide telecom regulator modeled on the FCC. This new authority would have a small, but permanent staff and be accountable to the European Parliament.

This new agency is designed to prevent national regulators and governments from diverging from European telecom rules when it suits them. The highest-profile example of this is Germany's new telecom law, which allows a regulatory holiday for Deutsche Telekom's VDSL network that it is deploying to support its IPTV service.

Reding also wants to give national regulators the power to split up incumbent operators into infrastructure and service companies when such a move is justified. This is called "functional" or "structural separation," whereby an operator's fixed-line access network business is split off into a separate legal entity.

This is a significant proposal that will affect carriers plans for deploying VDSL and FTTH networks and, consequently, IPTV. Under Reding's proposal this change would not go into effect until 2010, so it will not affect IPTV deployments in the short run.

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