Insights

Jones Day and ECTA Publish European Regulatory Scorecard for 2006

The European Competitive Telecommunications Association has published the Regulatory Scorecard for 2006 , its 4th flagship report on the application and effectiveness of telecommunications regulation across 17 EU Member States. The UK, Denmark and France topped this year's Scorecard (as in 2005), whilst Poland, Greece and Germany scored worst for measures to open telecommunications markets to competition.

The detailed analysis was based on a survey of 97 questions and carried out with the assistance of Jones Day and economic consultants SPC Network. Results showed that implementation had been extremely patchy across Europe with large variations in the quality of access regulation and in the institutional frameworks on aspects such as appeals, enforcement, and the time taken by governments to implement key legislation and for NRAs to complete analyses required by EC law.

Key Findings:

  • There is a strong and statistically significant link between broadband take-up and the effectiveness of appropriate market-opening broadband regulation as measured by the Scorecard.
  • Finland, Sweden and Denmark top the league for the most attractive mobile competitive environments with relatively low retail prices. By comparison, mobile customers in Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland face relatively high prices with little choice.
  • The UK, Netherlands, Portugal and France offer the communications environment most conducive for business communications services, a key engine for economic growth. Of the big 5 European economies, Germany and Spain currently lag behind.
  • Many regulators lack the power or confidence to fine companies for breach of telecommunications competition rules or to block the incumbent from launching services that undermine competition in the market. By contrast, Spain, Portugal and Greece have relatively effective enforcement powers and have used them.
  • Slow and complex appeals procedures continue to dog application of the framework in many countries, delaying the process by up to 3 years in some cases. Sweden faces particular problems with this issue.
  • Most regulators have yet to tackle the issue of "discrimination", one of the key barriers to competitors being able to compete on equal terms with former state-owned incumbents. The UK, Italy and France are considered to have made the most progress, with functional separation in place in the UK and under consideration in Italy.

ECTA called on Member States and the ERG to look at giving the ERG an enhanced role in order to better harmonise application of regulation across Europe.

The complete version of the Scorecard is available on ECTA's website at http://www.ectaportal.com/en/basic276.html. A press release with executive summary is attached for ease of reference.

2006 Regulatory Scorecard - Executive Summary
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