acw2c39h, no title

Topics: Connected Continent
Organisations: BEUC

beucconnected continentamendments

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

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Proposal for a regulation to establish a Connected Continent 2013/0309(COD)

ITRE Report

BEUC suggested amendments

Creating a true Single Market for all European consumers

Amendment 1 Proposal for a regulation Article 21

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 21

Elimination of restrictions and discrimination

1. The freedom of end-users to use public electronic communications networks or publicly available electronic communications services provider by an undertaking established in another Member State shall not be restricted by public authorities.

2. Providers of electronic communications to the public shall not apply any discriminatory requirements or conditions of access or use to end-users based on the end-user’s nationality or place of residence unless uch differences are objectively justified.

3. Providers of electronic communications to the public shall not apply tariffs for intra-Union communications terminating in another Member State which are higher, unless objectively justified:

a) as regards fixed communications, than tariffs for domestic long-distance communications;

b) as regards mobile communications, than the eurotariffs for regulated voice and SMS roaming communication, respectively, established in Regulation (EC) No 531/2012.

Article 21

Elimination of restrictions and discrimination

1. The freedom of end-users to use public electronic communications networks or publicly available electronic communications services provider by an undertaking established in another Member State shall not be restricted by public authorities.

2. Providers of electronic communications to the public shall not apply any discriminatory requirements or conditions of access or use to end-users based on the end-user’s nationality or place of residence unless uch differences are justified by and in strict compliance with the guidelines set out in paragraph 4.

3. Providers of electronic communications to the public shall not apply tariffs for intra-Union communications terminating in another Member State which are higher than tariffs for domestic longdistance communications, unless the difference is justified by and in strict compliance with the guidelines set out in paragraph 4.

4. By (DATE OF APPLICATION DEADLINE) BEREC, after consulting stakeholders and in close cooperation with the Commission, shall lay down general guidelines to determine the conditions under which providers of electronic communications to the public are allowed to charge an additional fee for the provision of an international service within the EU on top of their domestic tariffs. Such guidelines shall ensure that any additional fees are strictly based on the real and verifiable cost that providers incur by providing the cross-border service, are transparent, and made available to the public.

Justification

Article 21 must be maintained and further improved. The proposed Regulation must include more legal clarity as to what should be the general principles to determine exemptions to the non-discrimination rule, and then mandate BEREC and National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to develop further detailed guidelines. Further, the Regulation should call on NRAs to closely monitor on a case-by-case basis that service providers are respecting the criteria when their prices are being discriminatory.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

2

Seeking to abolish any type of discriminatory practices, whether on access to services or on prices for cross-border ervices is very important for the creation of a true Single Market for consumers. The prohibition of price differentiation based on the geographical origin and destination of a service is an adequate approach, and telecom providers should therefore never be allowed to have differentiated access or pricing policies, unless there are unavoidable and significant additional costs which need to be covered to offer the service.

Amendment 2 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 1 Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) In Article 1(1), the following third subparagraph is inserted:

‘This regulation shall apply to roaming services provided in the Union to end users whose domestic provider is a provider of electronic communications to the public in a Member State’.

(delete)

Amendment 3 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 2 Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) In Article 2(2), the following point (r) is inserted:

(r) ‘bilateral or multilateral roaming agreement’ means one or more commercial or technical agreements among roaming providers that allow the virtual extension of the home network coverage and the sustainable provision by each roaming provider of regulated retail roaming services at the same price level as their respective domestic mobile communications services.’

(delete)

Amendment 4 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 3 Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) In Article 4, the following paragraph 7 is added:

‘7. This Article shall not apply to roaming providers that provide regulated retail roaming services in accordance with Article 4a.’

(delete)

The Consumer Voice in Europe

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Amendment 5 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 4 Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 4a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) The following Article 4a is inserted:

Article 4a

[…]

(delete)

Justification

The market-driven mechanism on collective roaming agreements proposed by the European Commission is entirely unsatisfactory for the following reasons: 1 – The mechanism does not ensure the end of all roaming charges for all European consumers by 2016 at the latest. On the contrary, it would allow a significant part of European consumers to continue paying roaming with no end in sight. 2 – The creation of collective roaming agreements could lead to harmful consequences on the level of competition in mobile markets. 3 – The rules that determine what is to be considered a collective roaming agreement creates a patchwork olution that will exacerbate consumer confusion and mistrust. 4 – Allowing the possibility of a limitation on “reasonable use” will not ensure consumers can “confidently replicate their domestic consumption pattern” while travelling.

For all these reasons, the proposed mechanism and all its linked article and recitals shall be deleted.

Amendment 6 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 4a (new) Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 6a (new)

(4a) the following Article is inserted:

‘Article 6a

Abolition of retail charges

With effect from 1 July 2016, providers of publicly available electronic communications services shall not levy any extra charge for the provision of these ervices when their customers are in any Member State.’

Justification

Given the current market failure in roaming services despite the decreasing caps on fees, a regulatory solution is necessary to abolish roaming fees once and for all. Roam Like at Home must be the reality of all roaming offers of all operators across the EU. Ideally, this abolition should happen as of 2015, as the European Parliament has called for itself in Resolution 2013/2593 (RSP). Yet, given the timeline constraints on this reform, 2016 could be the next valid solution in terms of deadline.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

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Amendment 7 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 5 – point a Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 8 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) the first subparagraph is replaced by the following:

‘2. With effect from 1 July 2013, the retail charge (excluding VAT) for a euro-voice tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for the provision of a regulated roaming call may vary for any roaming call but shall not exceed EUR 0,24 per minute for any call made or EUR 0,07 per minute for any call received. The maximum retail charge for calls made hall decrease to EUR 0,19 on 1 July 2014. As of 1 July 2014, roaming providers shall not levy any charge on their roaming customers for calls received, without prejudice to measures taken to prevent anomalous or fraudulent usage. Without prejudice to Article 19 those maximum retail charges for the euro-voice tariff hall remain valid until 30 June 2017.’

(a) the first subparagraph is replaced by the following:

‘2. With effect from 1 July 2012, the retail charge (excluding VAT) for a euro-voice tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for the provision of a regulated roaming call may vary for any roaming call but shall not exceed EUR 0,29 per minute for any call made or EUR 0,08 per minute for any call received. The maximum retail charge for calls made hall decrease to EUR 0,24 on 1 July 2013, to EUR 0,19 on 1 July 2014, and to EUR 0,10 on 1 July 2015. As of 1 July 2015, roaming providers shall not levy any charge on their roaming customers for calls received. Without prejudice to Article 19 those maximum retail charges for the euro-voice tariff shall remain valid until 30 June 2016.’

Justification

During the period between the adoption of this Regulation and the effective date of the abolition of roaming charges, the levels of retail roaming caps need to continue descending as they remain unacceptably high. Receiving a call while being a different Member State should be for free in the meantime, as the European Commission proposed.

Amendment 8 Proposal for a regulation Article 37 – point 5a (new) Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 10 – paragraph 2

Present Text

Amendment

2. With effect from 1 July 2012, the retail charge (excluding VAT) for a euro-SMS tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for a regulated roaming SMS message sent by that roaming customer may vary for any regulated roaming SMS but hall not exceed EUR 0,09. That maximum charge shall decrease to EUR 0,08 on 1 July 2013, and to EUR 0,06 on 1 July 2014 and shall, without prejudice to Article 19, remain at EUR 0,06 until 30 June 2017.

2. With effect from 1 July 2012, the retail charge (excluding VAT) for a euro-SMS tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for a regulated roaming SMS message sent by that roaming customer may vary for any regulated roaming SMS but hall not exceed EUR 0,09. That maximum charge shall decrease to EUR 0,08 on 1 July 2013, to EUR 0,06 on 1 July 2014 and to EUR 0,05 on 1 July 2015 and shall, without prejudice to Article 19, remain at EUR 0,05 until 30 June 2016.

Justification

During the period between the adoption of this Regulation and the effective date of the abolition of roaming charges, the levels of retail roaming caps need to continue descending as they remain unacceptably high.

Amendment 9 Proposal for a regulation

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Article 37 – point 5b (new) Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 Article 13 – paragraph 2

Present Text

Amendment

2. With effect from 1 July 2012, the retail charge (excluding VAT) of a euro-data tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for the provision of a regulated data roaming service shall not exceed EUR 0,70 per megabyte used. The maximum retail charge for data used shall decrease to EUR 0,45 per megabyte used on 1 July 2013 and to EUR 0,20 per megabyte used on 1 July 2014 and shall, without prejudice to Article 19, remain at EUR 0,20 per megabyte used until 30 June 2017.

2. With effect from 1 July 2012, the retail charge (excluding VAT) of a euro-data tariff which a roaming provider may levy on its roaming customer for the provision of a regulated data roaming service shall not exceed EUR 0,70 per megabyte used. The maximum retail charge for data used shall decrease to EUR 0,45 per megabyte used on 1 July 2013, to EUR 0,20 per megabyte used on 1 July 2014 and to EUR 0,10 per megabyte used on 1 July 2015 and shall remain at EUR 0,10 per megabyte used until 30 June 2016.

Justification

During the period between the adoption of this Regulation and the effective date of the abolition of roaming charges, the levels of retail roaming caps need to continue descending as they remain unacceptably high.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

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Protecting consumers’ right to access the open internet

Amendment 10 Proposal for a regulation Article 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 2 – Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the definitions set out in Directives 2002/21/EC, 2002/20/EC, 2002/19/EC, 2002/22/EC and 2002/77/EC shall apply. The following definitions shall also apply: (…)

(12) "assured service quality (ASQ) connectivity product" means a product that is made available at the internet protocol (IP) exchange, which enables customers to set up an IP communication link between a point of interconnection and one or everal fixed network termination points, and enables defined levels of end to end network performance for the provision of specific services to end users on the basis of the delivery of a specified guaranteed quality of service, based on specified parameters;

(…)

(15) "specialised service" means an electronic communications service or any other service that provides the capability to access specific content, applications or services, or a combination thereof, and whose technical characteristics are controlled from end-to-end or provides the capability to send or receive data to or from a determined number of parties or endpoints; and that is not marketed or widely used as a substitute for internet access service;

Article 2 – Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the definitions set out in Directives 2002/21/EC, 2002/20/EC, 2002/19/EC, 2002/22/EC and 2002/77/EC shall apply. The following definitions shall also apply: (…)

(12) “reasonable network management” means network management that complies with the general principles of relevance, proportionality, efficiency, non-discrimination and transparency;

(…)

(15) “specialised services” means electronic communications services that are provided and operated within closed electronic communications networks using the Internet Protocol, but not being part of the Internet. The expression “closed electronic communications networks” refers to networks that rely on strict admission control.

Justification

Clear definitions are essential to ensure that consumers’ right to access the open Internet is duly protected and can be effectively enforced.

Article. 23 includes ‘reasonable traffic management’ in its heading yet the concept is not defined as such in the Regulation. ‘Network’ management is also a broader concept than ‘traffic’ management, as hindering of content, applications and services can result from practices that go beyond ‘traffic’ management and affect the network in other manners but with an equally damaging result.

BEREC has pointed out that the definition of specialised services does not adequately capture their provision within closed networks and so risks hindering NRAs’ capacity to apply open Internet standards to internet access ervices and to determine the acceptable relationship between IAS and specialised services.

Amendment 11 Proposal for a regulation Article 19

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 19 – Assured service quality (ASQ) connectivity

product

(Delete)

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1. Any operator shall have the right to provide a European ASQ connectivity product as specified in paragraph 4. 2. Any operator shall meet any reasonable request to provide a European ASQ connectivity product as pecified in paragraph 4 submitted in writing by an authorised provider of electronic communications ervices. Any refusal to provide a European ASQ product shall be based on objective criteria. The operator shall state the reasons for any refusal within one month from the written request. It shall be deemed to be an objective ground of refusal that the party requesting the supply of a European ASQ connectivity product is unable or unwilling to make available, whether within the Union or in third countries, a European ASQ connectivity product to the requested party on reasonable terms, if the latter so requests. 3. Where the request is refused or agreement on pecific terms and conditions, including price, has not been reached within two months from the written request, either party is entitled to refer the issue to the relevant national regulatory authority pursuant to Article 20 of Directive 2002/21/EC. In such a case, Article 3(6) of this Regulation may apply. 4. The provision of a connectivity product shall be considered as the provision of a European ASQ connectivity product if it is supplied in accordance with the minimum parameters listed in Annex II and cumulatively meets the following substantive requirements: (a) ability to be offered as a high quality product anywhere in the Union; (b) enabling service providers to meet the needs of their end-users; (c) cost-effectiveness, taking into account existing olutions that may be provided on the same networks; (d) operational effectiveness, in particular in respect of limiting to the extent possible implementation obstacles and deployment costs for customers; and (e) ensuring that the rules on protection of privacy, personal data, security and integrity of networks and transparency in accordance with Union law are respected. 5. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 32 in order to adapt Annex II in light of market and technological developments, so as to continue to meet the ubstantive requirements listed in paragraph 4.

Justification

The most problematic deviations from the principle of net neutrality occur in the lower layers of the internet value chain, specifically within the networks of providers of internet access services. As BEREC’s findings show, numerous operators use discriminatory traffic management techniques to create traffic bottlenecks. Yet market developments in the IP-interconnection layers are of crucial importance to ensure that the best efforts Internet

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continues to function efficiently, and that large telecom and network operators cannot influence the availability of content and the possibility to easily innovate by managing their traffic in an anticompetitive manner.

In that context, the freedom to develop connectivity products with an Assured Service Quality could be reasonable taking into account technological and economic trends. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to analyse the concrete impact that these services may have on the best-efforts Internet, both at an IP-interconnection and enduser levels. As BEREC has highlighted, encouraging the development of this type of product goes directly against the whole notion of ensuring that specialised services do not impair the use and availability of the best efforts internet.

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Similarly to specialised services, it must be ensured that ASQ products do not hinder or impair the capacity of endusers to fully benefit from their internet access services, free of discriminatory practices and using their contracted bandwidth without interferences.

Furthermore, the economic impact that these ASQ products will have on the general Internet ecosystem must be carefully analysed to ensure that the same degree of freedom of expression, innovation and consumer choice are kept on the open Internet, before the creation and deployment of these products is standardised and legalised.

For all the reasons highlighted above, BEUC agrees with BEREC

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and considers that the time is not reap to

tandardise ASQ products in a context where not only there is no market failure but, importantly, its concrete impact on the best efforts Internet has not been properly analysed.

Amendment 12 Proposal for a regulation Article 23 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 23 – Freedom to provide and avail of open

internet access, and reasonable traffic management

1. End-users shall be free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use ervices of their choice via their internet access ervice.

End-users shall be free to enter into agreements on data volumes and speeds with providers of internet access services and, in accordance with any such agreements relative to data volumes, to avail of any offers by providers of internet content, applications and services.

Article 23 – Open internet access, specialized services

and reasonable traffic management

1. End-users shall have the right to access and distribute information and content, run applications, connect hardware and use services and software of their choice. Internet access providers can thus not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade, including through price surcharge or preferential treatment, the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target. Providers of internet access services may however offer agreements that differentiate according to data volumes and speeds, as long as no discrimination based on the content, application or service themselves, or specific classes thereof, is put in place.

Providers of internet access services shall not make the prices of these services dependent on the content, applications and services that are offered or used via these internet access services.

Justification

Net neutrality is one of the fundamental principles of the internet, which has allowed it to significantly enhance citizens’ participation in society, access to knowledge and diversity, while promoting innovation, economic growth and democratic participation. Net neutrality is a fundamental pillar and has defined the internet as we know it,

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BEREC BoR (13) 142 – BEREC views on the proposed Regulation

2

BEREC BoR (13) 142 – BEREC views on the proposed Regulation

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offering European consumers unparalleled opportunities to access create and share content.

Legal certainty is served by setting out on the one hand the rights attributed to end-users and on the other the obligations this implies on telecom operators.

It is of utmost importance that the European instrument never undermines acquired rights in those Member States like the Netherlands and Slovenia where consumers already enjoy strong rights to access an open and neutral Internet. This suggested amendment therefore takes elements from that national legislation too.

Amendment 13 Proposal for a regulation Article 23 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. End-users shall also be free to agree with either providers of electronic communications to the public or with providers of content, applications and services on the provision of specialized services with an enhanced quality of service.

In order to enable the provision of specialized services to end-users, providers of content, applications and ervices and providers of electronic communications to the public shall be free to enter into agreements with each other to transmit the related data volumes or traffic as specialized services with a defined quality of ervice or dedicated capacity. The provision of pecialized services shall not impair in a recurring or continuous manner the general quality of internet access services.

2. End-users shall also have the right to agree with either providers of electronic communications to the public or with providers of content, applications and ervices on the provision of specialized services with an enhanced quality of service.

In order to enable the provision of specialized services to end-users, providers of content, applications and ervices and providers of electronic communications to the public may enter into agreements with each other to transmit the related data volumes or traffic as pecialized services with a defined quality of service or dedicated capacity. The provision of specialized ervices shall not impair the quality of internet access ervices.

Justification

The provision of specialised services shall only exist where strict safeguards are in place to protect undue influence on the quality and openness of internet access services.

Amendment 14 Proposal for a regulation Article 23 – paragraph 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

5. Within the limits of any contractually agreed data volumes or speeds for internet access services, providers of internet access services shall not restrict the freedoms provided for in paragraph 1 by blocking, lowing down, degrading or discriminating against pecific content, applications or services, or specific classes thereof, except in cases where it is necessary to apply reasonable traffic management measures. Reasonable traffic management measures shall be transparent, non-discriminatory, proportionate and necessary to:

a) implement a legislative provision or a court order, or prevent or impede serious crimes;

5. Within the limits of any contractually agreed data volumes or speeds for internet access services, providers of internet access services shall not restrict the rights provided for in paragraph 1 by notably blocking, slowing down, degrading or discriminating against specific content, applications or services, or pecific classes thereof, except in cases where it is necessary to apply reasonable network management measures. Reasonable network management measures shall be relevant, transparent, nondiscriminatory, proportionate, and efficient. They also must be necessary to:

a) implement a legislative provision or a court order;

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b) preserve the integrity and security of the network, ervices provided via this network, and the end-users' terminals;

c) prevent the transmission of unsolicited communications to end-users who have given their prior consent to such restrictive measures;

d) minimise the effects of temporary or exceptional network congestion provided that equivalent types of traffic are treated equally.

Reasonable traffic management shall only entail processing of data that is necessary and proportionate to achieve the purposes set out in this paragraph.

b) preserve the integrity and security of the European electronic communications provider's

network,

ervices provided via this network, and the end-users' terminals;

c) prevent the transmission of unsolicited communications to end-users who have given their prior consent to such restrictive measures;

d) mitigate the effects of temporary and/or exceptional network congestion provided that equivalent types of traffic are treated equally;

Reasonable network management shall only entail processing of data that is necessary and proportionate to achieve the purposes set out in this paragraph. Processing of data shall be done in compliance with Directive 95/46. Processing of the content layer of the communication during transmission for these purposes shall not be permitted.

Justification

Outlining a clear set of exemptions under which operators are allowed to undertake certain network management techniques is the only way to make sure that the European legal instrument does not allow for unwarranted loopholes and helps establish a higher degree of legal certainty for all actors involved.

To prevent or impede serious crimes would require access providers to make legal assessments as to the legality of the content at their own discretion outside the rule of law. The application of preventive measures must always be based on court orders and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of consumers, the confidentiality of communications, the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial.

‘Network’ management is also a broader concept than ‘traffic’ management, as hindering of content, applications and services can result from practices that go beyond ‘traffic’ management and affect the network in other manners but with an equally damaging result.

The argument put forward by operators that Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology is necessary to prevent network congestion and ensure equitable network distribution to all their customers fails to respond to net neutrality concerns. Operators should only be allowed to look into network and transport layers, and gather the necessary information to efficiently manage the networks. Any deeper inspection should be forbidden unless pecifically authorised due to legal or security requirements and should only occur exceptionally.

In addition to net neutrality, the use of DPI techniques raises serious privacy concerns, because it can involve the inspection of information sent from one end user to another. DPI technology has the capability to look into the content of messages sent over the internet, thus enabling third parties to draw inferences about users’ personal lives, interests, purchasing habits and other activities. This gives providers and other organizations widespread access to vast amounts of personal information sent over the Internet. The European Data Protection Supervisor has also raised a number of concerns

3.

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“Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Proposal for a Regulation on a Connected Continent", November

2013

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Ensuring a high level protection of consumer rights

Amendment 15 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1c (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 20 – paragraph 1 subparagraph 1

Present text

Amendment

1. Member States shall ensure that, when subscribing to services providing connection to a public communications network and/or publicly available electronic communications services, consumers, and other end-user so requesting, have a right to a contract with an undertaking or undertakings providing such connection and/or services. The contract shall specify at least in a clear, comprehensive and easily accessible form at least:

(a) the identity and address of the undertaking;

(b) the services provided, including in particular,

- whether or not access to emergency services and caller location information is being provided, and any limitations on the provision of Article 26,

- information on any other conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications, where such conditions are permitted under national law in accordance with Community law,

- the minimum service quality levels offered, namely the time for the initial connection and, where appropriate, other quality of service parameters, as defined by the national regulatory authorities,

- information on any procedures put in place by the undertaking to measure and shape traffic so as to avoid filling or overfilling a network link, and information on how those procedures could impact on ervice quality;

- the types of maintenance service offered and

(1c) Article 20(1) is replaced by the following:

‘1. Member States shall ensure that, when subscribing to services providing connection to a public communications network and/or publicly available electronic communications services, consumers, and other end-user sso requesting, have a right to a contract with an undertaking or undertakings providing such connection and/or services. The contract shall specify in a clear, comprehensive and easily accessible at least the following information:

(a) the identity, address and contact information of the undertaking and, if different, the address and contact information for any complaints;

(b) the main characteristics of the services provided, including in particular,

- the specific tariff plan or tariff plans to which the contract applies and, for each tariff plan, the types of ervices offered, including the volumes of communications;

- for tariff plans with a specific volume of communications, the means for consumers to use any unused volume of communications that is left over from the previous billing period, during at least three consecutive billing periods;

- whether and in which Member States access to emergency services and caller location information is being provided, and any limitations on the provision of Article 26,

- the minimum service quality levels offered, namely the time for the initial connection and, where appropriate, other quality of service parameters, as defined by the national regulatory authorities,

- the types of after-sales services, maintenance service

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customer support services provided, as well as the means of contacting these services,

- any restrictions imposed by the providers on the use of terminal equipment supplied;

(c) where an obligation exists under Article 25, the ubscriber’s options as to whether or not to include his or her personal data in a directory, and the data concerned;

(d) details of prices and tariffs including taxes and additional charges that may possibly be levied, the means by which up-to-date information on all applicable tariffs and maintenance charges may be obtained, payment methods offered and any differences in costs due to payment method;

(e) the duration of the contract and the conditions for renewal and termination of services and of the contract, including:

- any minimum usage or duration required to benefit from promotional terms,

- any charges related to portability of numbers and other identifiers;

- any charges due on early termination of the contract, including any cost recovery with respect to terminal equipment,

(f) any compensation and the refund arrangements which apply if contracted service quality levels are not met;

(g) the means of initiating procedures for the ettlement of disputes, including cross-border disputes, in accordance with Article 34;

and customer support services provided, the conditions and charges for these services, and the means of contacting these services,

- any restrictions imposed by the providers on the use of terminal equipment supplied, including information on unlocking the terminal equipment without any charges once any due compensation has been recovered, and in any case at the end of the contract period,

- the necessary technical information, free of charge, for the end-user to use the terminal equipment of his choice;

(c) where an obligation exists under Article 25, the ubscriber’s options as to whether or not to include his or her personal data in a directory, and the data concerned;

(d) details of prices and tariffs including taxes and additional charges that may possibly be levied, the means by which up-to-date information on all applicable tariffs and maintenance charges may be obtained;

(da) at least three payment methods available without any cost, available facilities to safeguard bill transparency and monitor the level of consumption;

(e) the duration of the contract and the conditions for renewal and termination of services and of the contract, including:

- the right to terminate the contract at any time without any penalty,

- any charges related to switching and portability of - numbers and other identifiers;

- any charges due on early termination of the contract exclusively related to cost recovery with respect to terminal equipment on the basis of customary depreciation methods,

(f) any compensation and the refund arrangements, including, where applicable, an explicit reference to the statutory rights of the consumer which apply if contracted service quality levels are not met;

(g) the means of initiating procedures for the ettlement of disputes, including cross-border disputes, in accordance with Article 34;

(ga) details on how disabled end-users can obtain information on products and services designed for them;

(h) the type of action that might be taken by the

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13

(h) the type of action that might be taken by the undertaking in reaction to security or integrity incidents or threats and vulnerabilities.

Member States may also require that the contract include any information which may be provided by the relevant public authorities for this purpose on the use of electronic communications networks and services to engage in unlawful activities or to disseminate harmful content, and on the means of protection against risks to personal security, privacy and personal data, referred to in Article 21(4) and relevant to the service provided.

undertaking in reaction to security or integrity incidents or threats and vulnerabilities.

Member States may also require that the contract include any information which may be provided by the relevant public authorities for this purpose on the use of electronic communications networks and services to engage in unlawful activities or to disseminate harmful content, and on the means of protection against risks to personal security, privacy and personal data, referred to in Article 21(4) and relevant to the service provided.’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour, with some additional modifications on issues that BEUC members have assessed are in need of crucial improvements. The justification for the different elements follows below:

1. Operators sell bundles of services with a certain volume of communications that consumers do not necessarily need, and therefore consumers end up paying much more than needed for what they really use. While this practice has facilitated the decrease in prices, a mechanism is needed to ensure that consumers don’t lose out so much unused volume that they are paying for anyway. They should therefore be able to accumulate any unused volume of communications for at least three months in a row.

2. In order to facilitate switching and foster a more sustainable society, consumers need to be able to unlock all equipment for free, and at the latest at the end of the contract. Only where equipment is subsidized, the operator can require that the compensation plan is finalized. Also, consumers need to be able to use the equipment of their choice. Forcing consumers to use the equipment supplied by the operator is an unacceptable barrier to witching and exponentially increases the amount of devices that circulate in an economy. Operators should therefore provide the necessary technical information free of charge to those consumers who do not wish to use their equipment.

3. Paying for a service cannot come at a cost. Consumers need a wide choice of payment methods, in any case at least three different methods, for which there is no associated cost.

4. In order to have a really fluid market, it is necessary that operators are not allowed to include any penalty whatsoever on early termination of contracts, so consumers can easily vote with their feet without disincentives. Only in the case of subsidized equipment, operators may include compensation plans to cover the cost of the equipment, on the base of customary depreciation methods.

Amendment 16 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1d (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 20 – paragraph 1a (new)

Present text

Amendment

(1d) In Article 20, the following paragraph is inserted:

‘1a. In addition to the information referred to in paragraph 1, if the contract includes the provision of internet access and data services, that contract shall also include the following information:

(a) details of unit data pricing plans, pricing plans for bulk data and any applicable thresholds. For data volumes above thresholds, unit or bulk pricing on an ad hoc or lasting basis and any data speed limitations that may be applied;

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

14

(b) how end-users can monitor the current level of their consumption, and define the level of their preferred consumption limit;

(c) the actually available data speed for download and upload at the main location of the end-user, as well as the minimum guaranteed speeds; (d) other quality of service parameters, as defined in Article 24(2) of Regulation (XYZ);

(f) information on any procedures put in place by the provider to measure and shape traffic strictly for the purposes allowed for in Article 23(5) of Regulation (XYZ), including an indication of the underlying communication inspection methods used and information on how those methods could impact on ervice quality, end-users’ privacy and protection of personal data;

(g) a clear and comprehensible explanation as to how any volume limitation, the actually available speeds and other quality of service parameters may have a practical impact on the use of content applications and services,

(h) a clear and comprehensible explanation as to what part of the contracted bandwidth is available to the internet access service, and what part is referred to specialized services, and what the impact of this eparation entails on the use of content applications and services over the internet access service. ’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour, with some additional modifications on issues that BEUC members have assessed are in need of crucial improvements. The justification for the different elements follows below:

1. Consumers need to be able to set their own limit of consumption by default.

2. “Estimated” speeds do not have any significant legal impact and could act as a loophole for operators in case of non-compliance. Consumers need to be told what is the minimum guaranteed speed to which operators commit themselves as well as the actual available speeds under normal conditions. The information always needs to relate to the consumer’s location, and never be a general national or regional average which will not mean anything for consumers.

3. Traffic management measures on internet access services should only be allowed for a very specific set of rules outlined in Article 23 (5) of the proposed Regulation and consumers need to be told what they mean in practice. No other traffic management is to be allowed.

4. In bundled contracts where there is an internet access services alongside one or more specialized service, operators need to be clear about what part of the bandwidth is dedicated to each of the services. In case of network congestion, the preference should always be given to the internet access service, unless the consumer voluntarily choses otherwise.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

15

Amendment 17 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1f (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 20 – paragraph 2a (new)

Present text

Amendment

(1f) In Article 20, the following paragraph is added:

‘2a. Member States may maintain or introduce additional contractual information requirements in relation to contracts to which this Article applies.’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour. A minimum harmonization approach for all issues related to consumer rights is the most effective, especially in these changing markets, to ensure that Member States have the possibility to quickly react to new abuses that may arise.

Amendment 18 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1h (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 20a (new)

Present text

Amendment

(1h) The following Article 20a is inserted:

‘Article 20a

Contract duration and termination

1. Member States shall ensure that the maximum duration of contracts concluded between consumers and providers of electronic communications to the public is 24 months. Providers of electronic communications to the public shall offer consumers the possibility of 12 months contracts.

2. The consumer shall have the right to withdraw from a distance or off premises contract within 14 days after its conclusion in accordance with Directive 2011/83/EU.

3. Where a contract or national law provides for contract periods to be extended tacitly, the provider of electronic communications to the public shall inform the consumers, and any other end-users so requesting, in due time so that the consumer has at least one month to oppose such tacit extension.

4. Member States shall ensure that consumers and other end-users so requesting, have the right to terminate their contract at any time without incurring any costs, except for any outstanding compensations due for subsidized equipment. In the case the provider changes essential elements of the contract, they shall give consumers adequate notice, not less than one month, of any such change, and shall inform them at the same time of their right to terminate their

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

16

contract without any cost or compensation if they do not accept the new conditions. Paragraph 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

5. Any significant discrepancy between the actual performance regarding speed or other quality parameters and the performance indicated by the provider of electronic communications to the public in accordance with Article 20 shall be deemed to constitute non-conformity of performance for the purpose of determining the remedies of the consumer, and of any other end-user so requesting, in accordance with national law. It shall specifically entitle the consumer to terminate the contract without any cost or compensation.

6. Member States shall ensure that a subscription to additional services provided by the same provider of electronic communications to the public shall not retart the initial contract period unless the consumer is duly informed and explicitly accepts the renewal.

7. Member States shall ensure that providers of electronic communications to the public apply conditions and procedures for contract termination which do not raise obstacles to or disincentives against changing service providers.

8. Member States may maintain or introduce additional requirements in relation to contracts to which this Article applies.

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour, with some additional modifications. The justification for the different elements follows below:

1. In order to have a really fluid market, it is necessary that operators are not allowed to include any penalty whatsoever on early termination of contracts, so consumers can easily vote with their feet without disincentives. Only in the case of subsidized equipment, operators may include compensation plans to cover the cost of the equipment, on the base of customary depreciation methods.

2. In case of unilateral changes to terms and conditions in essential elements to the contract (such as duration, price or quality of service), consumers should have the option to terminate the contract without incurring any costs or compensations whatsoever if they deem the changes are not beneficial to them. After all, the offer to which they subscribed is no longer existent.

3. In cases of non-conformity with the contract, consumers should have the option to terminate the contract without incurring any costs or compensations whatsoever.

4. Contracts should only be renewed with consumers’ explicit acceptance.

Amendment 19 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1l (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 21 – paragraph 3

Present text

Amendment

(1l) Article 21(3) is replaced by the following:

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‘3. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to oblige undertakings providing public electronic communications networks and/or publicly available electronic communications ervices to inter alia:

(a) provide applicable tariff information to subscribers regarding any number or service subject to particular pricing conditions; with respect to individual categories of services, national regulatory authorities may require uch information to be provided immediately prior to connecting the call;

(b) inform subscribers of any change to access to emergency services or caller location information in the service to which they have subscribed;

(c) inform subscribers of any change to conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications, where such conditions are permitted under national law in accordance with Community law;

(d) provide information on any procedures put in place by the provider to measure and shape traffic so as to avoid filling or overfilling a network link, and on how those procedures could impact on service quality;

‘3. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to oblige undertakings providing public electronic communications networks and/or publicly available electronic communications ervices to inter alia:

(a) provide applicable tariff information to subscribers regarding any number or service subject to particular pricing conditions; with respect to individual categories of services, national regulatory authorities may require uch information to be provided immediately prior to connecting the call;

(b) provide end-users with access to emergency ervices and caller location information for all relevant services offered, any limitations on the provision of emergency services under Article 26, and any changes thereto;

(da) provide information on internet access services, where offered, specifying the following:

(i) the actually available data speed for download and upload at the main location of the end-user, as well as the minimum guaranteed speeds;

(ii) details of unit data pricing plans, pricing plans for bulk data and any applicable thresholds. For data volumes above thresholds: u nit or bulk pricing on an ad hoc or lasting basis and any data speed limitations that may be applied;

(iii) how end-users can monitor the current level of their consumption, and define the level of their preferred consumption limit;

(iv) a clear and comprehensible explanation as to how any volume limitation, the actually available speeds and other quality of service parameters may have a practical impact on the use of content applications and services,

(v) a clear and comprehensible explanation as to what part of the contracted bandwidth is available to the internet access service, and what part is referred to specialized services, and what the impact of this eparation entails on the use of content applications and services over the internet access service.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

18

(e) inform subscribers of their right to determine whether or not to include their personal data in a directory, and of the types of data concerned, in accordance with Article 12 of Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications); and

(f) regularly inform disabled subscribers of details of products and services designed for them.

If deemed appropriate, national regulatory authorities may promote self or co-regulatory measures prior to imposing any obligation.

(e) inform consumers, and end-users where applicable, of their right to determine whether or not to include their personal data in a directory, and of the types of data concerned, in accordance with Article 12 of Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive in privacy and electronic communications); and

(f) regularly inform disabled consumers, and endusers, where applicable, of details of products and ervices designed for them and the measures taken to ensure equivalence in access.’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour, with some additional modifications. The justification for the different elements follows below:

1. Consumers need to be able to set their own limit of consumption by default.

2. “Estimated” speeds do not have any significant legal impact and could act as a loophole for operators in case of non-compliance. Consumers need to be told what is the minimum guaranteed speed to which operators commit themselves as well as the actual available speeds under normal conditions. The information always needs to relate to the consumer’s location, and never be a general national or regional average which will not mean anything for consumers.

3. Traffic management measures on internet access services should only be allowed for a very specific set of rules outlined in Article 23 (5) of the proposed Regulation and consumers need to be told what they mean in practice. No other traffic management is to be allowed.

4. In bundled contracts where there is an internet access services alongside one or more specialized service, operators need to be clear about what part of the bandwidth is dedicated to each of the services. In case of network congestion, the preference should always be given to the internet access service, unless the consumer voluntarily choses otherwise.

Amendment 20 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1n (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 21 – paragraph 3a (new)

Present text

Amendment

(1n) In Article 21, the following paragraph is added:

‘3a. Member States may maintain or introduce additional information requirements in relation to ervices to which this Article applies.’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour. Aminimum harmonization approach for all issues related to consumer rights is the most efficient, especially in these changing markets, to ensure that Member States have the possibility to quickly react to new abuses that may arise.

The Consumer Voice in Europe

Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL | Der Europäische Verbraucherverband

Mr. Guillermo Beltrà - Senior Policy Officer - Guillermo.Beltra@beuc.eu - Twitter @gbeltra

19

Amendment 21 Proposal for a regulation Article 36 – paragraph 1 - point 1o (new) Directive 2002/22/EC Article 21a (new)

Present text

Amendment

(1o) The following Article 21a is inserted:

‘Article 21a

Control of consumption

1. Member States shall ensure that providers of electronic communications offer consumers and endusers the facility to monitor and control their usage of electronic communications by default. These facilities must include:

(a) access to timely information on their service consumption.

(b) the ability to set a financial cap on their usage, the level of the cap, to request notification when an agreed proportion of their cap has been reached, the procedure to be followed to continue usage if the cap is exceeded, and the applicable pricing plans.

(c) itemized bills in electronic or paper format.

2. BEREC shall law down guidelines for the implementation of paragraph 1.’

Justification

This amendment is based on the proposal by the IMCO Rapporteur Mr. Malcolm Harbour, with some additional modifications. All across Europe, consumers face issues related to bill shocks and undesired surprised. All consumers should have the right to a consumption control mechanism activated by default, and be able to set the level of the cap themselves. They should of course have the option to deactivate it.

Document Info

  • Language: en
  • Author: Guillermo Beltra
  • Created: December 11, 2013 6:46 PM
  • Last Modified: December 11, 2013 6:46 PM
  • Pages: 19
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