EU regulatory framework for electronic communications: access and choice for disabled end-users

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1 EU regulatory framework for electronic communications: access and choice for disabled end-users Tomas Soria DG CONNECT Unit B2 (Regulatory Coordination & Users) Brussels, 15 October 2013 This presentation represents the views of the speaker only and may not in any way be regarded as an official position of the European Commission.

2 Overview 2009 revised regulatory framework Objectives Revised rules regarding disabled end-users Universal service obligations Equivalence in access and choice Implementation aspects: Study on assessing and promoting E-Accessibility (2013) 2

3 Revision of EU telecoms package Directive 2009/136/EC (Citizens' Rights) and Directive 2009/140/EC (Better Regulation) amending the EU regulatory framework in Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive): Inclusion of issues related to users with disabilities in the general policy aims and related provisions. - Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive): Specific provisions regarding disabled end-users - Policy objectives - recitals - Universal Service Obligations (Article 7) - Ensuring equivalence in access and choice (Article 23a) 3

4 Revision of EU telecoms package Directive 2009/136/EC (Citizens' Rights) Recital 12: Equivalence in disabled end-users access to services should be guaranteed to the level available to other end-users. To this end, access should be functionally equivalent, such that disabled end-users benefit from the same usability of services as other end-users, but by different means. 4

5 Recital 36: Revision of EU telecoms package In order to ensure that disabled end-users benefit from competition and the choice of service providers enjoyed by the majority of endusers, relevant national authorities should specify, where appropriate and in light of national conditions, consumer protection requirements to be met by undertakings providing publicly available electronic communications services. Such requirements may include, in particular, that undertakings ensure that disabled end-users take advantage of their services on equivalent terms and conditions, including prices and tariffs, as those offered to their other end-users, irrespective of any additional costs incurred by them. Other requirements may relate to wholesale arrangements between undertakings. 5

6 Universal service Universal service in electronic communications - Safety net of minimum set of services defined at EU level to be available to all, independently of geographical location, at an affordable price. - Principles: availability, accessibility, affordability - Provision universal service by designated undertakings - Quality of service of designated undertakings - Financed from public funds/sector specific funding - Review of the scope of universal service 6

7 Universal service mandatory provisions Universal service for disabled end-users: New mandatory provisions equivalent access and affordability of publicly available telephone service provided over network connection at a fixed location equivalent access and affordability of comprehensive directories and directory enquiry services 7

8 Universal service other provisions Other provisions - Measures to allow disabled end-users to take advantage of the choice of undertakings and service providers - Accessibility of public payphones to disabled end-user - National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) for electronic communications in Member States may assess the general need and design specific requirements 8

9 End-user rights harmonised numbers 112 and emergency services - equivalent access for disabled end-users to emergency services, including measures enabling access to emergency services while travelling in other MS (e.g. SMS service, text-relay, video-relay or other real-time functionalities) 116xxx numbers for harmonised services of social value - access for disabled end-users to services provided under 116 numbering range (to the greatest extent possible), incl. when travelling Commission may adopt technical implementing measures Must carry obligations - possibility to impose transmission of complementary services, particularly accessibility services to enable appropriate access for disabled end-users 9

10 Article 23a equivalent access and choice Requirements that may be imposed by relevant national authorities on all undertakings providing electronic communications services: Ensuring equivalence in access and choice for disabled end-users (Article 23a): - Access to electronic communications service equivalent to that enjoyed by majority of end-users (i.e. functionally equivalent access allowing same usability of services but by a different means, e.g. accessible information on services, billing, customer services, design for all, terminal equipment) 10

11 Article 23a equivalent access and choice - Benefit from choice of undertakings and services available to majority of end-users (i.e. consumer protection requirements such as e.g. equivalent terms and conditions of services, incl. prices and tariffs) - Member States to encourage availability of terminal equipment offering necessary services and functions (i.e. better end-to-end solutions for disabled and more incentives to invest in new technology and services for manufacturers of goods and service providers) 11

12 Disabled end-users Implementation developments Assessment of implementation developments regarding measures for disabled end-users: - Inclusive Communications Experts Group (INCOM). - BEREC report on ensuring equivalence for disabled endusers. - Study Monitoring eaccessibitly (MEAC2): (Report on implementation of eaccessibility articles of European Directives into National Legislation). - Forthcoming study on assessing and promoting e- Accessibility (2013) 12

13 Forthcoming study on assessing and promoting E-Accessibility Assessment of accessibility and promotion of E- accessibility in the EU (including telecoms and Article 23a USD). Key aspects: - Situation EU27 legislation/implementation - Website accessibility - Telecoms - Television - Conclusions 13

14 Forthcoming study on assessing and promoting E-Accessibility Key issues and indicators on telecoms and USD: Directory services Payphones Relay services Special equipment Emergency access Special tariffs Choice Study to be published in Q

15 Many thanks for your attention! 15

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