EU commissioner Viviane Reding's plan to create an EU-wide telecoms "super regulator" has been attacked as being costly and pointless. Paul Champsaur, head of French telecoms regulator ARCEP, spoke out against a European Telecom Market Authority (ETMA) in the French press yesterday, saying the plan also sends a message to the …
Surly it'd cost less to have one regulator rather than twenty whatever we've got now. It'd also stop the "it's my ball and I'm taking it home" attitude some countries have to stopping companies from other countries getting in.
Cost More - You Bet
Centralized regulation is generally far more costly to the taxpayer. It doesn't seem logical but the added costs of internal bureaucracy, program ownership issues, and regional differences almost always end up costing more than lots of little regulators that play by their own rules.
Logic is like the sword: those who appeal to it shall perish by it.
Not to mention the fact that if it's anything to do with central European regulation, you can quadruple the highest possible reasonable price, then add an extra 0. And that's your conservative estimate...
it may cost more but having a central regulator will certainly be a nice slap in the face to those snotty french telecom regulators. the system in france is so rubbish that it's actually cheaper for me to buy a swiss sim card and use that one (i happen to be a border person so i get done over pretty often by the french)... i'm more than happy to back someone who's gonna crack the whip on them :) too bad there's no whip icon...
Centralized Frequency Control
Sounds like the frequency auctions that the FCC in the States holds, allowing the entire industry purchase and then lock all available bandwidth, miss the boat, and keep missing it.
Still it was rather cute to watch SMS be a novelty all over again when they discovered it over the last few years.
How about mandating an Ombudsman to stop the little guy being screwed?
As an Australian, I really appreciated the office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman, who would promptly and professionally deal with legitimate complaints. Telcos must have their own internal procedures for dealing with complaints, but where these are unsatisfactory, the Ombudsman would chase the telcos up, at their own expense. It meant a higher quality of customer service, more openness, and less deceptive practices.
Maybe Ofcom in the UK serves this purpose, but some other EU countries don't have the concept, and a customer must take (usually expensive and personally risky) legal action against a huge company for the €7 they overcharged you on dialed but non-connected roaming calls. (ok, in my case, they compensated me, but they probably overcharge millions of € per year with the same scam, and nobody polices that)
"Maybe Ofcom in the UK serves this purpose"
Unlikely. It seems to be accountable to nobody and there's no way the users can vote its bosses out and have them replaced by people that understand what the users need instead of being whitewashed by businesses all the time.
French frequency website
"ARCEP has, meanwhile, launched a website where interested users can type in a frequency and see what it's being used for - in France at least. When, or if, Ofcom will ever offer an equivalent service for the UK remains to be seen, but the disparity highlights the problems of having regional regulators with their own agendas and priorities."
Ofcom has had one of them since 2004 which can be found here at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/isu/ukpfa/intro . The Ofcom version also allows you to see who owns particular bits of spectrum (providing that the spectrum can be traded).
There is also a European-wide searchable database called EFIS available at http://www.efis.dk
Don't bank on the French winning this one
What national government would delegate something as important as telecoms regulation to its constituent provinces? Especially when they might not see eye to eye!
Our national government in Brussels will get their wish on this, as on every other topic that they declare themselves "competent". And no, we won't get a referendum!
Pirate flag as the real flag of the EU
The UK Telecoms Ombudsman is Otelo, <url>http://www.otelo.org.uk/</url>. Otelo can consider complaints against any member company and although most fixed line providers are members, less than half mobile providers and a third ISP are.
One of OfTel/OfCom's primary roles is to ensure fair competition in the UK so it is more focused on market-scale issues not individual consumer issues. *and I managed to say that with a straight face* :)
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