In Europe, May Contrasts EU Model to U.S.
WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. regulators need a new regulatory framework to function efficiently and fairly in a digital era, Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Randolph May said today at a conference in Stockholm. Speaking at the VON Europe 2005 Conference and Expo, May contrasted the European Union's regulatory framework with that of the United States, "a framework that almost everyone agrees is not a model of rational coherence."
May, PFF's director of communications studies, noted that the EU regulatory framework that came into effect in July 2003 contrasts markedly from the U.S. model. As the June 2004 European Commission staff Working Document entitled "The Treatment of VoIP Under the EU Regulatory Framework" states: "The convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors demands a single regulatory framework that covers all transmission networks and services. The EU regulatory framework addresses all communications infrastructure in a coherent way, but does not cover the content of services delivered over rand through those networks and services."
The U.S. framework, May pointed out, relies on differing service definitions such as telecommunications, information services, cable and broadcasting. "These are based on what I have called techno-functional constructs," he said. "The distinctions that U.S. regulators are called upon to make based on technological and functional characteristics are downright metaphysical -- and they have little to do with how consumers view the services or the market position of the various services." May argued for a new, market-oriented model. For more, including Randy's interaction with Europeans on issues such as "naked DSL," "open access," number porting and emergency services including E-911 for VoIP, see Randy's entry on the PFF blog at http://blog.pff.org.
May is the co-chairman of the Regulatory Framework working group of The Progress & Freedom Foundation's Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) project. DACA is a broad-based effort to formulate legislation to guide regulators in the digital age, and involves PFF fellows, other think tank and university scholars, and policy officials from the last five presidential administrations. May and his working group co-chairman, Northwestern U. law professor James Speta, hope to have a working draft of regulatory framework reform available for feedback from the public next month.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.