Telecoms Rules: Commission closes Universal Service Infringement Case against France
In today’s round of telecoms infringement proceedings, the European Commission closed the case against France over the designation of universal service providers, following changes to French rules. EU rules under the Universal Service Directive provide a safety net guaranteeing a minimum level of services such as connection to a telephone network and basic internet access that fill societal needs not delivered by the market. The Commission launched a case against France in 2005 because its procedure for designating providers of the universal service was only open to operators offering nationwide services. EU rules say that the process should not discriminate against any operator interested in providing the service only in parts of a country. France amended its rules after the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the Commission in June 2008. These amendments will ensure that no telecoms provider interested in providing the universal service in parts of the country will be excluded from a designation process in advance.