The Council adopted a general approach on a proposal to allocate the 700 MHz frequency band to wireless broadband. Negotiations with the European Parliament are expected to start in the autumn. The draft decision aims to bridge the digital divide and to allow effective deployment of innovative services. At the same time, it preserves the continuity of conventional television services.
"Today we made progress towards improving connectivity in the EU. Without connectivity there is no digital single market in which consumers and companies can interact. We agreed on extending the spectrum available for mobile broadband. We also provided guidance on the modernisation of telecom rules. These rules will need to provide the right incentives to encourage both investment in networks and competition for services provided on those networks".
Henk Kamp, the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs and chair of the meeting
Ministers also held a policy debate on key issues of the forthcoming review of EU telecoms rules. The aim of the debate was to provide input for legislative proposals to be prepared by the Commission in 2016 under the digital single market strategy.
In the debate, ministers agreed that the current rules on operators' access to networks should be revised in order to increase investment and safeguard competition across the EU and to establish rules suitable for all types of areas in the EU. They stressed that it is important for member states to be able to adapt spectrum management to national circumstances, while acknowledging the need to continue cooperation and share best practices. As regards the potential need to regulate over-the-top communication services, ministers called for a case-by-case approach and considered that consumer protection would be best dealt with in horizontal legislation.
The presidency reported on the endorsement of the deal on the first EU-wide rules on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps. The informal agreement was confirmed by member states' ambassadors on 25 May. The presidency also briefed ministers on the draft directive on network and information security, on which the Council adopted its position at first reading on 17 May. Once confirmed by the EP, both sets of rules (accessibility and security) could enter into force during the second half of the year.
In addition, the Commission updated ministers on the latest developments in internet governance and stressed its commitment to continue representing the interests of the EU and its member states.
Lastly, the incoming Slovak presidency presented its telecoms work programme.
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Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council: Other meetings
Last reviewed on 26/05/2016
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