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Telecommunications Council

Volume 164: debated on Thursday 21 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Telecommunications Council on 7 December.

The principal items for discussion were a proposed Commission directive under Article 90 of the treaty of Rome aimed at introducing competition into the Community market for telecommunication services and a related Council directive on a framework for open network provision (ONP) of telecommunication services.The Council agreed the policy content of the Commission directive with a number of amendments designed to ensure that the introduction of competition would not interfere with the general availability of packet and circuit switched data services in each member state. The Council also agreed amendments on ONP which may be expected to lead to a common position on the proposed framework directive, probably before the end of this year.The Government believe that this outcome was the best that could be achieved. In particular the essential market opening provisions of the article 90 directive have been retained. While the scope of the ONP directive will be more extensive than we had proposed, it should not impede our objective of enabling competition to develop without the constraint of unnecessary harmonisation.