Friday, June 13, 2008

Europe - telecommunications investment

EU to issue guidelines on telecoms investments

The European Commission will issue guidelines for the telecoms industry on ensuring a fair return on investment and sharing infrastructure, the European Union executive's telecoms chief said on Thursday.

EU Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said she would publish her guidelines after the summer.

"The objective will be to give certainty to investors on their return on investments over a reasonable timeframe, and to make also sure that access to new bottleneck infrastructures is guaranteed," Reding told a meeting of EU telecoms ministers.

There will be consultation on the guidelines before they are formally adopted by the Commission.

Reding has proposed a package of measures, now before EU states and the European Parliament, to update the bloc's telecoms rules to boost competition and investment in next- generation networks.

However, the package won't come into effect for several years and Reding said interim measures, such as the guidelines, were needed to encourage investment.

"The key decisions about how high-speed Internet infrastructures will be made are being made now. Therefore we must make a virtue out of a necessity and exploit fully the existing EU framework in order to reach a more consistent approach," Reding said.

The recommendation on next-generation access aims to give investors more certainty on getting a return from the money they put into new networks.

It will also reassure new entrants by making sure they can share, for a fee, infrastructures that bigger rivals are building.

The guidelines won't be legally binding on EU states but national telecoms regulators must take "utmost account" of the guidelines or else say why they are not being followed.

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