GUIDELINES FOR TRANSEUROPEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS
(a) Commission Report on the implementation of Decision 1336/97/EC on a series of guidelines for transEuropean telecommunications networks.
(b) Draft Decision revising Annex I to Decision No. 1336/97/EC on a series of guidelines for transEuropean telecommunications networks.
|Legal base:||(a) ; (b) Article 156 EC; qualified majority voting
|Department:||Trade and Industry
|Basis of consideration:||Minister's letter of 13 March 2002
|Previous Committee Report:||HC 152-xviii (2001-02), paragraph 8 (6 February 2002)
|To be discussed in Council:||Transport and Telecommunications Council 25-26 March
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
20.1 TEN-Telecom supports projects to explore the technical
and commercial feasibility of applications and services that use
communications networks, their validation and deployment. They
must be innovative, trans-European, and based on proven technology.
The programme provides support for a pre-deployment phase during
which business plans and market validation studies are drawn up,
and for deployment by contributing to the initial investment required
to make an application or service operational.
20.2 Under the Decision establishing a series of guidelines
for trans-European telecommunications networks,
the Commission is required to submit a report every three years
on the implementation of the Decision. At the same time, the Commission
is required to make appropriate proposals for the revision of
the Guidelines, based on technological developments and on experience
in operating the programme.
The Commission report
20.3 The Commission report makes recommendations on how
to remedy various problems with the programme, in particular a
concentration on small-scale validation studies with low potential
impact, and too few implementation projects.
The proposed revisions to the guidelines
20.4 In the proposal on revisions to the guidelines,
the Commission attempts to address various weaknesses identified,
and some issues raised, in a critical report from the Court of
Auditors in the year 2000 on the operation of the TENTelecom
20.5 When we considered the proposed revisions on 6 February,
we asked the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness (Mr Douglas
Alexander) to comment more fully on the issues which he had told
us that the Government wished to discuss further. The Department
of Trade and Industry was consulting other government departments,
so we asked him to reply when the consultation was further advanced.
The Minister's letter
20.6 The Minister says that the responses to the consultation
did not reveal any additional issues. The concern which he had
identified in his Explanatory Memorandum, about the reference
to the delivery of applications and services over higher bandwidth
(broadband) networks being insufficient, had been dealt with.
The Council Working Group had agreed to the inclusion of a clear
reference to the use of broadband networks in the revised guidelines.
20.7 The Minister comments:
"Hence the Government can agree with the Common Position
on the draft guidelines, which will be presented at the Telecommunications
Council for political agreement on 256 March. I think that
you will agree with me that the proposal is uncontroversial and
I hope that we will be in a position to support the Common Position
at the Council."
20.8 The Minister recalls that, in the report, the Commission
recommended that the level of support for implementation projects
should be increased to 20%, from the current maximum of 10%. He
"There has been no adverse comment from Departments on this
recommendation. In general, the change would be welcomed, as any
increase in the level of financial support will need to be managed
within the existing total budget ceiling for the programme and
it is expected to help increase the focus on introduction of services
and away from study projects. In due course, the Commission will
need to submit a formal proposal to modify the TEN financial regulation:
this statement of intent does not affect the current decision
on the revision to the guidelines".
20.9 According to the Minister, once new guidelines have
been agreed, the Commission will agree a work programme with the
programme management committee. It will be used to improve programme
management and can be revised, within the framework of the guidelines,
to respond to changes in technology and the market.
20.10 The Minister has indicated that no new issues
have been raised in response to his Department's consultation
and that the issue which he had identified on broadband networks
has been satisfactorily resolved. The Government wishes to support
the Common Position on 25-26 March and we now clear the document.
of Decision No.1336/97/EC of 17June1997. Back
8310/00; see HC 23-xxvi (1999-2000), paragraph 13 (26 July 2000). Back