The Commission wants to hear from users, organisations, public bodies, and businesses across all sectors – from telecoms and ICT to agriculture, from education to automotive, from services and industry, especially those that develop applications and services that depend on connectivity. Following the evaluation process, the Commission will present its proposal on how to address the identified challenges in telecoms and broadband.
What Internet connection will we need in the future, when many of our objects are connected to each other? Are we still going to use our fixed phones or only our mobile devices? What about apps which connect us to our family and friends over the Internet, do they need to respect the same rules as traditional telecoms operators, such as facilitating switching between services? How do we coordinate spectrum across the Union as radio waves know no border? - These are some of the questions of the two public consultations starting today.
The two consultations – one on Europeans' broadband needs and the other focusing on the review of the current telecoms framework - are open until 7 December 2015. Following the evaluation process, the Commission will present its proposal on how to address the identified challenges in telecoms and broadband. Creating the right conditions for digital products, networks and services to flourish is part of the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy presented in May. Progress has already been made: earlier this year, EU institutions agreed on strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content without discrimination and on the end roaming charges by June 2017 (press release).
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "The Internet is the oxygen of our digital economy and society. We are more and more connected, at every moment, everywhere. This means that access to high-speed and high-quality Internet has become essential to every European: people, companies, organisations or public bodies. We are asking you about your needs and your expectations regarding your Internet access in the European Union. We are also gathering views on the current telecoms rules and how they should evolve to support the Digital Single Market. Take this opportunity to have your say on Europe's digital future."
Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: "More than ever, Europe needs top-class connectivity. This will ultimately determine the success of the Digital Single Market. We therefore need rules that underpin sustainable, market-based, high-performance fixed and wireless broadband infrastructures for 2020 and beyond. And it is not just about the telecoms sector; every part of our economy and society has a vital stake in these issues. We therefore seek a broad and inclusive public debate, based on the best evidence of future needs."
The consultation on the review of the 2009 Telecoms Package will examine to what extent the EU's telecoms rulebook needs to be modernised to address technological and market challenges. It asks about the future of network access regulation, spectrum management, communication services, universal service and telecoms governance. It covers the evaluation of fundamental legislation including the 2002 Framework Directive, the Authorisation Directive, the Access Directive and the Universal Service Directive as modified in 2009 by the Better Regulation Directive and the Citizens' Rights Directive, as well as the BEREC Regulation.
The consultation on future Internet speed and quality needs asks what Europeans expect from their fixed and mobile networks beyond 2020. In particular which future products, applications and services will depend on connectivity and what will they require in terms of security, speed, quality, data downloads and uploads and ubiquitous connectivity. Views and inputs will help define technical requirements for future digital infrastructures. They will also influence the decisions related to funding under the European Structural & Investment Funds, the Connecting Europe Facility and the European Fund for Strategic Investment.
The two telecoms consultations are a major strand of the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy to create the right conditions for digital products, networks and services to flourish. Earlier this year, the European Council and Parliament reached political agreement on Commission proposals for strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content without discrimination and to end roaming charges by June 2017 (IP/15/5265). These first steps will be followed by an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016, which will include more effective EU-level spectrum coordination.
Respond online on the Needs for Internet Speed and Quality Beyond 2020.
Respond online on the Evaluation of the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications and on its Review.