EC demands more progress towards a single telecoms market

Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has lambasted EU member states for putting their national interests above efforts to achieve the full economic benefits of a "truly single and competitive EU-wide telecoms market".

Fragmented national markets and huge differences in mobile call rates are affecting hundreds of thousands of consumers and businesses, according to Kroes.

Member states need to do more to ensure telecoms rules are properly implemented and the necessary investments in innovative services are made for the benefit of all 500 million European consumers, she said.

Kroes said more progress needed to be made in the development of the mobile data services sector and the rollout of optical fibre-based next generation access (NGA) networks.

As the commissioner in charge of the recently launched EU Digital Agenda, Kroes is expected to put forward new recommendations on how NGA network rollouts can be made faster later this year.

The EU Digital Agenda aims to deliver broadband coverage to all Europeans by 2013. To help achieve this, national regulators are being urged to comply with a Radio Spectrum Policy Programme that aims to ensure radio frequencies that are freed by the transition to digital broadcasting (the "digital dividend") are made available for new services, such as mobile broadband.

To help drive forward its Digital Agenda, the EC recently establishd the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.

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