The EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications is a series of rules which apply throughout the EU Member States. It encourages competition, improves the functioning of the market and guarantees basic user rights. The overall goal is for European consumers to be able to benefit from increased choice thanks to low prices, high quality and innovative services. EU law has helped the prices of telecoms' services fall by around 30% in the past decade. The rules are simple, flexible, technology-neutral and aim at deregulation in the longer term.
The rules were updated in 2009 to take into account the developments in this area and transposed into national legislation in the 27 Member States on 25 May 2011. The Commission monitors the timely and correct implementation of these rules.
The current telecom rules are currently under review, via the so-called "connectivity package" launched on September 2016. The Commission proposed a new European Electronic Communications Code including forward-looking and simplified rules that make it more attractive for all companies to invest in new top-quality infrastructures, everywhere in the EU, both locally and across national borders.
The content carried over electronic comunications networks is regulated by audiovisual media services' rules.
The relevant laws
The framework is made of a package of 5 Directives (unofficialy consolidated versions) and 2 Regulations:
- The Framework Directive is based on the Framework Directive 2002/21/EC and the Better Regulation Directive 2009/140/EC
- The Access Directive is based on the Access Directive 2002/19/EC and the Better Regulation Directive 2009/140/EC
- The Authorisation Directive is based on the Authorisation Directive 2002/20/EC and the Better Regulation Directive 2009/140/EC
- The Universal Service Directive is based on the Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC and the Citizens' Rights Directive 2009/136/EC
- The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications is based on the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications 2002/58/EC, the Amending Directive 2006/24/EC and the Citizens' Rights Directive 2009/136/EC
- The Regulation on Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)
- The Regulation on roaming on public mobile communications networks