The law of Europe relating to telecommunications comprises several interrelated topics, with numerous measures by the EU to ensure enhanced Single Market competitiveness, alongside EU and national legislative structures which embody the day-to-day operational regulation of this type of business. (Legal issues relating to data protection in a telecommunications context are addressed in the Chapter on "Intellectual Property, Information Technology, E-Commerce" and legal issues related to state aid are addressed in the Chapter on "Trade Law and Policy".)

The competition measures are aimed primarily at complying with Articles 81-86 of the EU Treaty (liberalisation or removal of national rules tending to restrict competition, such as those which have protected local encumbent carriers ("LECs")) and the regulatory measures are aimed primarily at ensuring customer access (universal service, non-discrimination and interoperability), price transparency and overall reliable service, including "essential requirements" in the public interest. Although this industry sector has become increasingly liberalised it remains highly regulated.

EU Directives and Regulations. There are numerous EU Directives which, although written as regulatory measures, are primarily aimed at ensuring that the telecommunications field is one in which there is free competition in the marketplace, throughout the EU. Thus, Directives 96/19/EC and 97/51/EC mandate free competition throughout the telecommunications industry, whereas Directive 88/301/EEC addresses competition in telecommunications terminal equipment and Directive 90/388/EEC addresses competition in the provision of telecommunications services. British Telecommunications/Italy v. EC (Case 41/83, decided 20 March 1985) [1985] 2 CMLR 368 (although a "public body" BT was subject to EU telecommunications regulation, as a business "undertaking"); Regie des Telegraphes et Telephones v. GB-lnno-BM (Case C-18/88, decided 13 December 1991) [1991] ECR 1-5941 (role of terminal equipment as "essential requirement"); Spain (with Belgium, France, Italy) v. EC (Cases C-271/90, 281/90 and 289/90, decided 17 November 1992) [1992] ECR 1-5833 (role of services as "essential requirement"). Regulation 2887/2000 addresses the issue of unbundled access to local loop.

Other EU Directives focus upon specific areas of service, access and interoperability, such as Directive 92/44/EEC (leased lines and open network provisions, "ONP"), Directives 95/62/EEC and 98/10/EC (voice telephony), Directive 96/2/EEC (mobile telephony communications), Directive 97/33/EC (interconnections, universal service and ONP), Directive 97/13/EC (telecommunications licensing). France (with Belgium, Germany, Greece and Italy) v. EC (Case C-202/88, decided 19 March 1991) [1991] ECR 1-1223 (upholding EU service directives relating to withdrawal of certain national exclusive rights); R. ex parte British Telecommunications v. EC (Case C-302/94, decided 12 December 1996) [1996] ECR 1-6417 (same, in context of exclusive rights versus special rights, which may retain national treatment).

Other Directives relevant to telecommunications can be found in the Chart at pages 90-97, such as Directive 93/38/EEC (public procurement in the telecommunications sector), Directive 98/6I/EC (number portability and

carrier pre-selection), a variety of Directives which relate to satellite and cable broadcasts and transmissions (Directives 89/552/EEC, 93/83/EEC, 94/46/EEC, 97/36/EC and 1999/64/EC), Directive 2002/19/EC (access and interconnection in electronic communications networks), 2002/21/EC (framework for common regulation of electronic communications networks and services) and Directive 2002/77/EC (competition in markets for electronic communications networks and services). (It should be noted that the three latter Directives referto "electronic" networks and services (which terms include telecommunications and are intended to encompass the convergence of various technologies and to bring together under one definition all electronic communication networks and services which involve the conveyance of signals, whether by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic means).

Some EU member countries have been relatively little affected by certain of these EU Directives because their own national legislation was already in place and mandated substantially similar solutions to the issues addressed by the EU, the UK and its Telecommunications Act 1984 being a case in point. R v. Director-General of Telecommunications, ex parte Cellcom (decided 26 November 1998) [1999] ECC 314. Other countries, such as Spain, have had to make substantial changes in their national regulatory framework (in Spain via Royal Decree Law 6/1996 and Spanish Telecommunications Law no. 11 of 24 April 1998, and numerous related Royal Decrees, such as No. 3456/2000 on unbundled access to local loop).

National Structures. The German, French, Italian and Swiss national regimes of telecommunications regulation are good examples of well designed systems for the operation of telecommunications businesses within the overall competitive framework mandated by the EU. Switzerland, although not a part of the EU, has a national regulatory structure which closely matches the structures in the EU member countries.

German national telecommunications law is largely embodied in the TKG (Telekommunikationsgesetz = Telecommunications Law) of 25 July 1996, as amended. It, in turn, is supplemented by a variety of statutes which address specific issues, in accordance with specific EU Directives, for example, the Netzzugangsverordnung (NZV) of 23 October 1996, (regulation on network access), the Telekommunikations-Universaldienst-leistungsverordnung (TUDLV) of 30 January 1997 (regulation on universal telecommunications service) and the Telekommunikations-Lizenz-gebtihrenverordnung (TKLGebV) of 28 July 1997 (regulation on telecommunications licence fees).

French national telecommunications law is embodied in the Law dated 26 July 1996 (effective 1 January 1998), which implements various EU Directives and opened up the French telecommunications sector to full competition, under the joint supervision of the French Minister of Industry and the special regulatory authority, ART ("Autorite de regulation des telecommunications"). As with the German national structure, some regulatory issues are dealt with in special laws or in amendments to existing laws. Certain aspects of licensing, for instance, are addressed in Articles L.33-1 and L. 34-1 of the French Postal and Telecommunications Code and the authorisation of independent networks must be approved by ART under Article L. 33-2 of that Code.

The Italian national structure is very similar. Italy has implemented most of the EU Directives and the most significant components of the legal framework regulating telecommunications in Italy can be summarised as follows: (1) Presidential Decree No. 156 of 29 March 1973 (which is the basic Italian Law on postal and telecommunications services, the latter being in particular dealt with under Articles 183-407 of the Decree); (2) Law No. 71 of 29 January 1994 (which transformed the government's Post & Telecommunication into a separate business entity and also deals with the extensive regulatory powers of the Ministry of Telecommunication and the analogous powers granted to the Telecommunications Authority); (3) Law No. 249 of 31 July 1997 (which created the Telecommunications Authority, which is responsible for decisions about frequencies, tariffs and price-caps, inter-connections, relationships between infrastructure-capacity providers and users and any relevant disputes, inter-connections between domestic and international network-systems, electromagnetic interference, as well as the duty to ensure that services and products rendered or furnished by authorised suppliers are in full compliance with the law); (4) Presidential Decree No. 318 of 19 September 1997 (implementing most EU Directives into Italian law and which Decree can, therefore, be considered as the basic technical law relating to telecommunications in Italy, liberalising the Italian telecommunications market, introducing the "licence" regime in lieu of the previous "concession" regime, and allowing full competition in the sector, in accordance with the general EU regulatory framework and obligations); and (5) Presidential Decree No. 447 of 5 October 2001 (regulating the issuance of individual licences and general authorisations in relation to telecommunications services for private usage).

The Swiss national system is also based upon a central piece of legislation, supplemented by specific additional enactments, many of which closely track the sense or the language of the EU Directives referred to herein regarding operations. The basic law is the Swiss Telecommunications Law of 30 April 1997 (Loi sur les Telecommunications (LTC)/Fernmeldegesetz (FMG)). It is supplemented, for example, by a specific law on long distance charges (Ordonnance sur les redevances dans le domaine des telecommunications (ORDT)/Verordnung iiber Gebiihren im Fernmeldebereich (GFV)), a specific law on telecommunications equipment (Ordonnance sur les installations de telecommunication

(OITyVerordnung iiber Fernemeldeanlagen (FAV)) and a specific law on service (Ordonnance sur les services de telecommunication (OST)/ Verordnung iiber Fernemeldedienste (FDV)), all dated 6 October 1997.

By way of brief comparison, substantially the same regulatory structures are found in Austria ("Telekommunikationsgesetz" (TKG), 1 August 1997), Finland ("Telecommunications Market Act", June 1997), Portugal ("Decree-Law 91/97", 1 August 1997), Sweden ("Telecommunications Act" (SFS 1993:597) and "Radio Communications Act" (SFS 1993:599), both from 1993) and the UK ("Telecommunications Act, 1984").

As part of their adoption of the acquis communautaire, the New EU Accession countries have been generally diligent in revising their national telecommunications legislation. For example: Czech Telecommunications Law number 151/2000; Access Directive 2002/19/EC (Pristupova smernice - Smernice 2002/19/EC ze 7. bfezna 2002 o pfistupu k si'tim elektronickych komunikaci a pfidruzenym zafizenim a o jejich vzajemnem propojovani); Regulation 2887/2000 on unbundled access to the local loop (Nafizeni c. 2887/2000 ze dne 18. prosince 2000 o sdileni pfistupu k ucastnickemu vedeni); Lithuanian Law on Telecommunications of 9 June 1998 No. VIII-774; Polish Telecommunications Law (12 May 2000); Slovenian Law on Telecommunications of 11 July 1997.

Interesting Europe-fact: Some French laws are known better by name than by legislative number:

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