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EU gets nasty with Italy

by on21 November 2013

Broadband price too high

EU telecoms regulator Neelie Kroes is about to give the Italian government a kick in the meatballs over the wholesale broadband prices that Telecom Italia charges its rivals to rent its copper lines. The EU Commission said it was concerned that Italian regulator AGCOM had not set prices according to EU guidelines and was more interested in keeping the cash strapped Telecom Italia afloat.

Kroes is trying to bring into line diverging national regulations of Europe's telecom operators so as to foster a single market for broadband and mobile services in the region. National regulators oppose efforts to hand over influence of their local decisions to Brussels because it makes them less important.

Kroes said that she had made a proposal for a compromise to the Italians but had not been able to reach an accord. Therefore, she is sticking her heels in. The next step will be for the EU commission to notify Italy with a recommendation by December 12 for action to take on the wholesale broadband rates, which the country's regulator will then have a month to answer. If Italy does not comply, the EU could open an enforcement action.

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