Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Mr Stephen Timms, Minister of State for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, Department of Trade and Industry

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 1 July 2002 which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 8 July.

  The Communication from the Commission is timely. We note that, at this stage, the document carries no legal or financial implications. Under the circumstances, the Scrutiny reserve on this document is lifted.

  We found the Commission's survey of the market fascinating, and we note that some countries are making efforts to lift part of the burden that operating companies face—either through spinning out spectrum fees, or, as in the case of France, reducing the original cost of licences. We recognise that the French can do this because they did not hold an open auction. Certainly, the very high prices paid for these licences has had a debilitating effect on operators, and must, therefore, have contributed to a delay in the roll-out of this important technology where the EU has an advantage over the United States.

9 July 2002

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