James Thew - Fotolia
The European Commission (EC) has opened two separate consultations to review the current telecoms framework and initiate more debate over the future of broadband in the European Union (EU).
Open until 7 December 2015, the consultations will invite views from public bodies, businesses, telecoms and internet providers and the general public, to help form a set of proposals on how to address the challenges identified.
The consultations herald a radical overhaul of European telecoms rules, to be implemented in 2016, following two landmark decisions made this year in support of net neutrality and the end of mobile roaming charges.
The first consultation on the review of the 2009 Telecoms Package will explore to what extent European telecoms rules need to be modernised, to address changing technology and market conditions, considering the future of network access regulation, spectrum management, communication services, universal services and telecoms governance.
The second consultation on internet speed and quality will explore what people are likely to expect from their fixed and mobile networks in products, apps and services beyond 2020, and what they will need in terms of security, speed, quality of service and so on, to support those needs.
Among the questions to be considered will be the type of internet connections needed in future, particularly in light of the growth of the internet of things; the evolution, or potential extinction, of fixed-line telecoms and the growth of mobility; the usage of over-the-top messaging apps and whether or not they need to be regulated; and the co-ordination of future spectrum needs across the EU.
The EC said that creating the right conditions for telecoms and broadband networks to flourish was an essential part of the Digital Single Market strategy, which was first presented in May 2015.
Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, said that connectivity would 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," he said.