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Single European telecom regulator urged

November 17, 2006

Currently, the European telecom landscape is comprised of 25 separate national regulators- one for each country. There is a European Commission telecom regulator, but that person is frequently bogged down with having to play referee.

But if EU telecom commissioner Viviane Reding had her way, the 25 national regulators would keep their posts but the EU telecom post would be convey "word is final" authority rather than the rferee-like role it connotes today.  To facilitate, there would be one central telecom authority.

"For me it is clear that the most effective and least bureaucratic way to achieve a real level playing field for telecom operators across the EU would be to replace the present game of 'ping pong' between national regulators and the European Commission by an independent European telecom authority that would work together with national regulators in a system similar to the European System of Central Banks," Reding said yesterday at a conference organized by the European Competitive Telecommunications Association.

Redding said that such a system could act like the European Central Bank in Frankfurt- central point of a system in which national regulators could set national policy but the European Central Bank's word on such policy items as coordinated interest rates would be final.

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