EC launches into flurry of activity

The European Commission has called on the Italian regulator, AGCOM, to comply with EU rules before changing access conditions to Telecom Italia's network to ensure fair treatment of competitors.

The conditions have already been approved by AGCOM at national level. Under the EU's common telecoms rules, the regulator is obliged to consult the Commission and other national regulators on changes that can impact the EU's single telecoms market before implemented.

'When a telecoms incumbent separates parts of its business operationally or functionally, in agreement with the national telecoms regulator, this can have important implications for the internal market. Early discussions with the Commission and full notification of the Commission and the 26 national telecoms regulators is of utmost importance for the successful completion of the separation process in the interest of fair competition and consumers', said Viviane Reding, the EU's Telecoms Commissioner.

She added, 'I welcome that, in spite of some initial difficulties, there is now smooth cooperation between the Commission and AGCOM on this important matter. If done well, in a transparent and pro-competitive manner, Open Access can become a model for other countries.

"However, I urge the Italian regulator not to implement the remedies related to Open Access before the Commission and other national regulators had the opportunity to look at them in detail, as required by European law.'

The Commission has sent a letter to the Italian telecoms regulator in which it expressed concern that there were neither regulatory obligations nor a thorough analysis of Telecom Italia's undertakings included in the current analysis of AGCOM.

The Commission has also sent Latvia has a so-called reasoned opinion, the second phase of an infringement proceeding, for not following EU rules that guarantee the independence of national telecoms regulators.

The Commission wants to make sure that Latvia respects the principle of separation between regulatory and ownership functions in the telecoms sector. Latvian authorities did not address the Commission's concerns in their response to the letter of formal notice of September last year (IP/08/1343) which is why the Commission now has launched the second phase of infringement proceedings.