Update on the EU Electronic Communications Code (EECC)
On 6 June 2018, the EU Council and Parliament reached a political agreement on the EECC. The EU Commission’s legal services will now finalise the text of the EECC to reflect this political agreement. Formal adoption and publication of the EECC in the Official Journal of the European Union are expected in December 2018. The Member States will then have two years to transpose the EECC into national law, either by introducing new laws or amending existing laws. During the transposition period, existing national laws will need to be interpreted and applied in a way that is consistent with the EECC. The only exception to this general rule is that the Member States will be permitted to maintain stricter end user protection rules than those contained in the EECC for a transitory period. We understand that this transitory period might be between three and five years, but we will be able to confirm the exact number of years covered by this exception once the final text of the EECC is available.
The final text of the EECC is not yet available and we will provide a further update as soon as the final text is published. In the meantime, the following bullet points provide our initial feedback on the likely implications of the political agreement:
- Definitions: the political agreement has endorsed the adoption of the distinction between Number-Independent Interpersonal Communications Services (“NI-ICS”) and Number-based Interpersonal Communications Services (“NB-ICS”). NI-ICS will be subject to lighter regulation than NB-ICS.
- Authorisation: NI-ICS will not be subject to a general authorisation regime requiring registration with the NRAs and they will not be subject to the consequential obligations that arise from such a registration (e.g. the obligation to pay certain administrative fees, amongst other things).
- Contract and transparency: NI-ICS will not be subject to the same contract transparency obligations applicable to NB-ICS, although contracts for the provision of NI-ICS will need to comply with some minimum requirements.
- Interoperability and access to emergency services: NI-ICS will for the time being excluded from an obligation of guaranteeing interoperability and access to emergency services; however, NRAs have the option of extending such obligations in specific circumstances.
- Security: Finally, although both NI-ICS and NB-ICS providers will be subject to the same obligation to ensure “appropriate measures” to secure their services, individual Member States may take different views on what constitutes appropriate measures
The political agreement also covered the following aspects of the EECC:
- Enhancing the deployment of 5G networks;
- Facilitating the roll-out of very high capacity fixed networks through co-investment; and
- Improving transparency for end-users, including in respect of bundles of services.
Partner, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, Chair, IIC Brussels Chapter
- Wednesday, 11 July 2018