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EU information regulator: give markets a say on tech standards

December 5, 2006

Speaking at the ITU Telecom World 2006 conference in Hong Kong yesterday, European Union commissioner for information society and media Viviane Reding said that technical standards should not be so much a decision of regulators as a decision for the markets to provide.The European Union's telecommunications watchdog has called for regulators to take a backseat in setting standards--and allow consumers to take the lead by picking the platform that offers the services they want.

"I think it should be left to businesses to find the business models that attract consumers to opt for the services they like (most)," Redding declared. "The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard was a landmark decision...today, the picture is more complex. For governments to make a viable case for choosing any standard is much more difficult."

Reding additionally said that regulators should also rethink wireless-spectrum allocation.

"We have to make fundamental changes, and we have to make it now to get the benefit of the digital dividend (of the end of analog TV)," she told delegates.

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