Correspondent's Choice

This story about EU telecoms ministers was published by EurActiv on 28th May 2010.

A code of rights will be discussed at the next EU Telecoms Council scheduled for Monday (31 May), as ministers will consider introducing pan-European rules to protect users of electronic communications from expensive bills. But no formal debate will take place on the thorny issue of funding and regulating investment in super-fast Internet.

The Spanish EU Presidency will push ahead a proposal to introduce guarantees to limit or control expenditure for all end-users of electronic communications services, as is already the case for telecoms roaming services (see ‘Background’).

A document obtained by EurActiv lists among possible measures the introduction of a “minimum degree of itemised billing,” meaning a regularly updated account of expenses.

The paper also proposes that “users should be able to switch off certain type of calls” and that “different prepayment options should be offered to users”.

Moreover, the interruption of services should be forbidden, except for free services, explains the document.

The code of rights of electronic communications’ users should also guarantee a higher level of transparency, the availability of comparable information about the quality of services offered by different operators, better protection for consumers and easier dispute-resolution procedures.

Ministers will hold their first debate on the issue next Monday in Brussels. “It remains to be seen how these measures might be applied, and whether new legislation will be necessary as a result,” a diplomatic source told EurActiv.

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