[A2k] From bad to worse: the del Castillo Report on the European Electronic Communication Code
La Quadrature du Net
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Wed Mar 22 05:46:20 PDT 2017
TAGS : EUROPEAN ELECTRONIC CODE OF COMMUNICATIONS, PILAR DEL CASTILLO,
La Quadrature du Net -- For immediate release
FROM BAD TO WORSE: THE DEL CASTILLO REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN ELECTRONIC
Paris, 22 March 2017 -- THE RAPPORTEUR FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON THE
EUROPEAN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION CODE INTENDS TO MAKE EUROPE RETREAT FROM
THE WAY TO A FREE, DEVELOPED, FAIR DIGITAL SOCIETY.
To understand what it's about, let's step back a little.
Since 2002, the regulation of telecommunication has been based on a group
of European directives called "the telecom package". The second revision of
this package (the first was in 2009) began in September 2016 with the
publication by the European Commission of a draft bill for a European Code
of Electronic Communication . This massive bill  of more than a
hundred articles aims to recast and reform the current telecom package. It
is now being negotiated at the Council of the European Union, and a report
just had been published at the European Parliament. This report published
by the MEP Pilar del Castillo (ES - EPP)  will be discussed in the
Our work on Telecom Package on the wiki
THE BILL OF THE COMMISSION, A BILL FOR A TELECOMS OLIGARCHY
We support the Commission' stated objective: to offer very high speed
connectivity, based on optical fibre, to all European citizens. That is
obvious. However, we discuss how to arrive there. The Commission's bill is
a bill for oligopolies, a bill for the big ones, the three or four large
operators in each country, a bill at the expense of the small ones. We knew
that this Commission couldn't come up with a bill favorable for citizens.
That is probably what, at the last minute, convinced it to assemble into
the communication, a collection of policies called "WIFI4EU", as a last
outburst before entirely forgetting citizens. As if Wi-Fi were no more than
an issue of money, dribbled from the fingers like a handout, and not a set
of liberties to conquer.
In the Commission's bill, citizens are not equal before the law. The
Universal Service Obligation  designed by the Commission makes persons
geographically isolated or in difficult situations into second-class
citizens. While "mainstream" citizens will benefit from very high-speed
Internet access, those benefiting from "Universal Service" will have only
"functional" access worthy of the ancient Minitel of 30 years ago. In
brief, for city-dwellers the very high-speed digital society, for rural
citizens the leftover scraps of a two-speed economy.
Networks are today a common good. Even according to the French national
electronic communication regulator Arcep, networks are "an infrastructure
of liberty" . The Commission is neglecting that when it closes the door
of the telecoms market to all the small actors who could build and nourish
the wealth of telecommunications.
This restrictive closure of the market is tangible in many ways.
Opposed to the demands of NetCommons , the Commission favored powerful
operators substantially by completely deregulating investment in the as-yet
undefined new network elements. It was the same when it proposed not to
regulate the structurally separated operators. The Commission also handed
operators a beautiful gift by offering them individual rights to radio
frequencies for 25 years while counting on the secondary frequency market
to keep it all working. Once again this flies in the face of history,
because today Wi-Fi, and thus free frequencies, transmit more data than all
other technologies combined.
But in this fight for the open spectrum, the Commission has defended the
sharing of radio frequencies since 2012, and in this text has made a number
of proposals in favor of the sharing of radio frequencies in the draft
code. Maybe in good faith, but without taking care to establish a coherent
and readable framework for the open spectrum, too sure to be swallowed by
the Member States.
Those are a few illustrations of the slippery slope on which the Commission
places itself against citizens, against the digital society, against
innovation. But that is nothing compared to what the rapporteur, MEP Pilar
del Castillo, foresees for this recast of telecoms law in Europe.
THE "DEL CASTILLO" REPORT, A REPORT FOR PRIVATE MONOPOLIES (I.E THE
Pilar del Castillo is no stranger  to us. She never fails to place her
portfolio of responsibilities at the service of the industry: an industry
with which she cultivates privileged relations and to which she offers the
most beautiful presents. Her report on the Code is one of them.
Determined in her quest for European breakage, Mrs del Castillo doesn't
hesitate to dig deeper the gap opened by the Commission. European
regulation must not merely be written for an oligarchy, it must be made for
a monopoly. But not any old type of monopoly. The public monopolies which
Europe has fought against when they were State property, the rapporteur now
plans to give to private companies -- the incumbent operators, those
now-privatised former monopolies.
To this end, the regulatory shortcomings explained above are extended and
made more vague. The control of the regulator is reduced and traded off for
more or less fair development. The idea that the optic fibre and a high
speed symmetrical broadband are supposed to be objectives, is simply put
rewritten to a mere placebo for copper networks. And, of course, no
progress on what we could expect from a representative of the European
But where the intervention of the MEP is even worst, it is regarding the
spectrum. The minimum of 25 years rights on public domain radio
frequencies, has been extended to 30 years! 30 years. Here is what will
block European economy, here is what will build fortresses around the kings
of the digital economy, those incumbent operators re monopolising. And
let's not forget the total lack of possibility of interventions on the
rights to use the spectrum given to those operators. Finally, because the
benefits of the biggest will be pale into insignificance if they were not
associated with the privatisation of the smallest, the unstable provisions
by the Commission in favor of the open spectrum are literally eradicated by
the rapporteur. Do not think about sharing. Do not think about innovation.
Mostly, do not think especially about freedom.
On the ruins of the Telecoms in the making, the only positive provision of
this report is the suppression of the administrative fees for the small
operators... There is always a small gift for those left behind.
ABOUT LA QUADRATURE DU NET
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freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for
the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding
principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.
>In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better
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