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10/27/2008
06:25 PM
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European Union Turns Down Plan For 'Super' Regulator

Telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding noted that giving individual countries and their respective telecom companies too much power over policy would be a mistake.

The European Union won't get a single "super" telecommunications regulator like the FCC in the U.S., according to current EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding.

In statements made on Monday, Reding said she believes the EU is making a mistake to continue to give individual countries and their respective telecom companies too much power over telecommunications' policies.

Reding agreed to drop her original proposal to give the European Commission veto power over national regulators, going along with recommendations from the EU parliament. Many of her proposals had been opposed by established telecommunications companies, according to European media sources.

Maintaining that the current worldwide financial crisis demonstrates that closer regulation can help the telecommunications industry, Reding told a meeting of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association that "over-regulation" did not cause the financial crisis.

"I firmly believe that regulation taking care of competition always has a positive effect on the economy," she said. "Times of economic difficulties are thus not a reason to suspend the principles of competition law."

In her remarks to telecom company executives, she added: "You and your lobbyists should be aware that the times when one could say 'no regulation' to have policy makers and public opinion on your side that these times are over now."

While the network operators have complained that regulatory restrictions tend to drive down prices thereby withdrawing valuable capital investment, Reding said past experience has shown that regulatory measures have pushed down prices, which has increased volume thereby sustaining revenues.

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