The European Commission unveils plans to develop a Digital Single MarketMatthew Evans
Yesterday the European Commission unveiled their proposals on the Digital Single Market, one of President Jean-Claude Juncker’s top 5 priorities.
Their primary goal is to create a market where “individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence”.
The proposals are built on three pillars;
- Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe
- Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish
- Maximising the growth potential of our European Digital Economy
Under these pillars are 16 initiatives which range from looking at cross border parcel delivery (a barrier to cross-border e-commerce) and cyber-security partnerships.
For the telecoms sector, the main planned actions revolve around the review of the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications (Framework). In a broad sense, the emphasis, like the UK Government’s Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy, seems to be on incentivising investment in telecoms networks.
As the Framework review will only kick off towards the end of this year – it’s worth bearing in mind that the Telecoms Single Market proposals which now only covers and net neutrality rules, remain in trialogue (negotiation between the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers with a view of reaching a final compromise). We’re therefore still some way off from knowing the exact details, although a renewed push for a more consistent approach to spectrum policy and a review of the Universal Service Directive did feature in the DSM strategy yesterday.
Given the converging nature of the sector, it is also worth pointing out that the interplay between the initiatives and pillars will undoubtedly throw up some unexpected public policy clashes. We’re looking forward to playing a role in the debate which is likely to carry on for the years to come…