EU Council of Ministers of Telecommunications

The 3134th session of the Council of Ministers for Transport, Telecommunications and Energy of the European Union (EU) has been held in Brussels.

At the session, taking place on 12 and 13 December, the Ministers for Telecommunications approved a decision establishing a multi-annual radio spectrum policy programme in the European Union, which will be put before the European Parliament in February 2012.

The aim of the programme is to set out policy orientations and objectives for the strategic planning and harmonisation of spectrum use in order to ensure the functioning of the internal market. The programme covers all EU policy areas involving the use of spectrum such as electronic communications, research, technological development and space, transport, energy and audiovisual.

In particular the programme's policy objectives include encouraging efficient management and use of spectrum, bridging the digital divide and contributing to the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe, promoting innovation and investment, and maintaining and developing effective competition in electronic communication services.  A key part of the programme is the availability of the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband services.

The Council also adopted conclusions on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe, drawn up on the basis of the Commission communication on the subject published in April 2011.

In its conclusions the Council underlines the need to preserve the open and neutral character of the internet and consider net neutrality as a policy objective. It welcomes the Commission's intention to assess the need, based on investigations by BEREC, for more stringent measures and to publish additional guidance on net neutrality if necessary. In addition, it welcomes the Commission's commitments to monitor the implementation of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications and services and to issue a code of existing EU online rights by 2012.

Finally, the Council took note of progress with regard to the international roaming regulation and the mandate of ENISA.

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