Regulation and Legislation in EU: State of the Art
For telecommunications regulation in EU, we can start by mentioning the New Regulatory Framework (NRF) 2002/21/EC
. This formula is required for all forms of communication or transmission technology. The old concept of telecommunication has become obsolete, so we are approaching new definitions such as:
- Electronic Communication Services (ECS);
- Audiovisual media services (AMS);
- Information society services (ISS); and
- Electronic Commerce Directive (ECD) which includes services that are more than ‘wholly or mainly in the conveyance of signals’.
Based on the above, OTTs do not consist in a ‘conveyance of signals’ which requires a transmission service that users must subscribe or have access to. To use a real example to explain this paradox, e-mail services provided by telecommunication operators belong to ECS, whilst email services supplied by OTT providers belong to ISS. From a consumer’s point of view, however, this service is the same.
As we can observe, the current state of the art is quite complicated, and the EU has the responsibility to shed light on the current scenario (it’s out of the scope of this article to discuss international regulation with OTT. To investigate this further I recommend the reading ‘An Over-The-Top Approach to Internet Regulation in Developing Countries