EU Delays New Telecom Strategy

The European Commission has put off until at least Nov. 3 approval of a new strategy for telecommunications legislation, a Commission official said today.

Originally scheduled for the Commission meeting of Oct. 26, the strategy drafted by Information Technology Commissioner Erkki Liikanen has run up against broad criticism from other European Union branches, which found the document "too confused," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

Critics within the Commission also questioned the document's attempt to expand the definition of universal telecom services to include Internet access for schools, he said.

An industry source who asked to remain anonymous said that the draft "was in need of considerable editing."

Provided the editing is the main problem, a special preparatory meeting next week could correct the text, and the Commission could approve the strategy in early November.

If the criticisms are more fundamental, the delay could be longer, the Commission official acknowledged. European telecom ministers are scheduled to discuss the strategy during their meeting on Nov. 30. The strategy results from a year-long review of existing EU telecom rules with a view to adapting them to the current market.

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