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Telecommunications Council

Volume 612: debated on Thursday 30 June 2016

The Telecommunications Council took place in Brussels on 26 May 2016. As is procedure, this statement sets out a formal record of that meeting. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Shan Morgan, represented the UK.

The first item was for agreement for a general approach on the proposal for a decision on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union (First reading—EM 5814/16 + ADD 1 and 2). The UK supported this general approach. There were no major interventions and the general approach was agreed by Council.

This item was followed by a debate on the EU electronic communications regulatory framework. The debate was informed by three questions from the presidency. The UK intervention was as per the pre-Council statement. Other member state interventions included Finland, Sweden, Romania and Latvia who generally agreed with the UK position on the importance of protecting national competence with respect to spectrum management, but that there should be better EU co-ordination. Some member states including Sweden, Poland and Lithuania, also highlighted the need for any new electronic communications framework to assist the rollout of broadband, especially in rural areas, by promoting competition. On the issue of increasing the scope of the framework to include over the top services (OTTs), many member states, including Finland, Ireland and Lithuania, were wary of widening the current scope to include OTTs. However, Germany and Spain wished to do so in order to create a “level playing field” for all comparable services. The Commission offered the view that the primary objective of the new framework should be further driving broadband rollout, especially ultrafast broadband.

This was followed by four items under AOB. The first two items were progress reports from the presidency on: a proposal for a directive of the European on the accessibility to public sector bodies’ websites (First reading—EM 16006/11); and measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union (NIS—First reading—EM6342/13). This was followed by information from the Commission on developments on internet governance. Finally, the Slovakian delegation informed the Council of their priorities for their forthcoming presidency. There were no interventions on any of these items.

The agenda item on the role of platforms in the digital economy was withdrawn by the presidency shortly before Council took place.

Council then adjourned until the next meeting, due to be held on Friday 2 December 2016.