Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of
of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic
communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in
particular Article 95 thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(1),
Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee(2),
Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(3),
Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the
(1) The liberalisation of the telecommunications sector and increasing
competition and choice for communications services go hand in hand with parallel
action to create a harmonised regulatory framework which secures the delivery of
universal service. The concept of universal service should evolve to reflect
advances in technology, market developments and changes in user demand. The
regulatory framework established for the full liberalisation of the
telecommunications market in 1998 in the Community defined the minimum scope of
universal service obligations and established rules for its costing and
(2) Under Article 153 of the Treaty, the Community is to contribute to the
protection of consumers.
(3) The Community and its Member States have undertaken commitments on the
regulatory framework of telecommunications networks and services in the context
of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on basic telecommunications. Any
member of the WTO has the right to define the kind of universal service
obligation it wishes to maintain. Such obligations will not be regarded as
anti-competitive per se, provided they are administered in a transparent,
non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner and are not more burdensome
than necessary for the kind of universal service defined by the member.
(4) Ensuring universal service (that is to say, the provision of a defined
minimum set of services to all end-users at an affordable price) may involve the
provision of some services to some end-users at prices that depart from those
resulting from normal market conditions. However, compensating undertakings
designated to provide such services in such circumstances need not result in any
distortion of competition, provided that designated undertakings are compensated
for the specific net cost involved and provided that the net cost burden is
recovered in a competitively neutral way.
(5) In a competitive market, certain obligations should apply to all
undertakings providing publicly available telephone services at fixed locations
and others should apply only to undertakings enjoying significant market power
or which have been designated as a universal service operator.
(6) The network termination point represents a boundary for regulatory purposes
between the regulatory framework for electronic communication networks and
services and the regulation of telecommunication terminal equipment. Defining
the location of the network termination point is the responsibility of the
national regulatory authority, where necessary on the basis of a proposal by the
(7) Member States should continue to ensure that the services set out in Chapter
II are made available with the quality specified to all end-users in their
territory, irrespective of their geographical location, and, in the light of
specific national conditions, at an affordable price. Member States may, in the
context of universal service obligations and in the light of national
conditions, take specific measures for consumers in rural or geographically
isolated areas to ensure their access to the services set out in the Chapter II
and the affordability of those services, as well as ensure under the same
conditions this access, in particular for the elderly, the disabled and for
people with special social needs. Such measures may also include measures
directly targeted at consumers with special social needs providing support to
identified consumers, for example by means of specific measures, taken after the
examination of individual requests, such as the paying off of debts.
(8) A fundamental requirement of universal service is to provide users on
request with a connection to the public telephone network at a fixed location,
at an affordable price. The requirement is limited to a single narrowband
network connection, the provision of which may be restricted by Member States to
the end-user's primary location/residence, and does not extend to the Integrated
Services Digital Network (ISDN) which provides two or more connections capable
of being used simultaneously. There should be no constraints on the technical
means by which the connection is provided, allowing for wired or wireless
technologies, nor any constraints on which operators provide part or all of
universal service obligations. Connections to the public telephone network at a
fixed location should be capable of supporting speech and data communications at
rates sufficient for access to online services such as those provided via the
public Internet. The speed of Internet access experienced by a given user may
depend on a number of factors including the provider(s) of Internet connectivity
as well as the given application for which a connection is being used. The data
rate that can be supported by a single narrowband connection to the public
telephone network depends on the capabilities of the subscriber's terminal
equipment as well as the connection. For this reason it is not appropriate to
mandate a specific data or bit rate at Community level. Currently available
voice band modems typically offer a data rate of 56 kbit/s and employ automatic
data rate adaptation to cater for variable line quality, with the result that
the achieved data rate may be lower than 56 kbit/s. Flexibility is required on
the one hand to allow Member States to take measures where necessary to ensure
that connections are capable of supporting such a data rate, and on the other
hand to allow Member States where relevant to permit data rates below this upper
limit of 56 kbits/s in order, for example, to exploit the capabilities of
wireless technologies (including cellular wireless networks) to deliver
universal service to a higher proportion of the population. This may be of
particular importance in some accession countries where household penetration of
traditional telephone connections remains relatively low. In specific cases
where the connection to the public telephony network at a fixed location is
clearly insufficient to support satisfactory Internet access, Member States
should be able to require the connection to be brought up to the level enjoyed
by the majority of subscribers so that it supports data rates sufficient for
access to the Internet. Where such specific measures produce a net cost burden
for those consumers concerned, the net effect may be included in any net cost
calculation of universal service obligations.
(9) The provisions of this Directive do not preclude Member States from
designating different undertakings to provide the network and service elements
of universal service. Designated undertakings providing network elements may be
required to ensure such construction and maintenance as are necessary and
proportionate to meet all reasonable requests for connection at a fixed location
to the public telephone network and for access to publicly available telephone
services at a fixed location.
(10) Affordable price means a price defined by Member States at national level
in the light of specific national conditions, and may involve setting common
tariffs irrespective of location or special tariff options to deal with the
needs of low-income users. Affordability for individual consumers is related to
their ability to monitor and control their expenditure.
(11) Directory information and a directory enquiry service constitute an
essential access tool for publicly available telephone services and form part of
the universal service obligation. Users and consumers desire comprehensive
directories and a directory enquiry service covering all listed telephone
subscribers and their numbers (including fixed and mobile numbers) and want this
information to be presented in a non-preferential fashion. Directive 97/66/EC of
the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 concerning the
processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the
telecommunications sector(5) ensures the subscribers' right to privacy with
regard to the inclusion of their personal information in a public directory.
(12) For the citizen, it is important for there to be adequate provision of
public pay telephones, and for users to be able to call emergency telephone
numbers and, in particular, the single European emergency call number
("112") free of charge from any telephone, including public pay
telephones, without the use of any means of payment. Insufficient information
about the existence of "112" deprives citizens of the additional
safety ensured by the existence of this number at European level especially
during their travel in other Member States.
(13) Member States should take suitable measures in order to guarantee access to
and affordability of all publicly available telephone services at a fixed
location for disabled users and users with special social needs. Specific
measures for disabled users could include, as appropriate, making available
accessible public telephones, public text telephones or equivalent measures for
deaf or speech-impaired people, providing services such as directory enquiry
services or equivalent measures free of charge for blind or partially sighted
people, and providing itemised bills in alternative format on request for blind
or partially sighted people. Specific measures may also need to be taken to
enable disabled users and users with special social needs to access emergency
services "112" and to give them a similar possibility to choose
between different operators or service providers as other consumers. Quality of
service standards have been developed for a range of parameters to assess the
quality of services received by subscribers and how well undertakings designated
with universal service obligations perform in achieving these standards. Quality
of service standards do not yet exist in respect of disabled users. Performance
standards and relevant parameters should be developed for disabled users and are
provided for in Article 11 of this Directive. Moreover, national regulatory
authorities should be enabled to require publication of quality of service
performance data if and when such standards and parameters are developed. The
provider of universal service should not take measures to prevent users from
benefiting fully from services offered by different operators or service
providers, in combination with its own services offered as part of universal
(14) The importance of access to and use of the public telephone network at a
fixed location is such that it should be available to anyone reasonably
requesting it. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, it is for
Member States to decide on the basis of objective criteria which undertakings
have universal service obligations for the purposes of this Directive, where
appropriate taking into account the ability and the willingness of undertakings
to accept all or part of the universal service obligations. It is important that
universal service obligations are fulfilled in the most efficient fashion so
that users generally pay prices that correspond to efficient cost provision. It
is likewise important that universal service operators maintain the integrity of
the network as well as service continuity and quality. The development of
greater competition and choice provide more possibilities for all or part of the
universal service obligations to be provided by undertakings other than those
with significant market power. Therefore, universal service obligations could in
some cases be allocated to operators demonstrating the most cost-effective means
of delivering access and services, including by competitive or comparative
selection procedures. Corresponding obligations could be included as conditions
in authorisations to provide publicly available services.
(15) Member States should monitor the situation of consumers with respect to
their use of publicly available telephone services and in particular with
respect to affordability. The affordability of telephone service is related to
the information which users receive regarding telephone usage expenses as well
as the relative cost of telephone usage compared to other services, and is also
related to their ability to control expenditure. Affordability therefore means
giving power to consumers through obligations imposed on undertakings designated
as having universal service obligations. These obligations include a specified
level of itemised billing, the possibility for consumers selectively to block
certain calls (such as high-priced calls to premium services), the possibility
for consumers to control expenditure via pre-payment means and the possibility
for consumers to offset up-front connection fees. Such measures may need to be
reviewed and changed in the light of market developments. Current conditions do
not warrant a requirement for operators with universal service obligations to
alert subscribers where a predetermined limit of expenditure is exceeded or an
abnormal calling pattern occurs. Review of the relevant legislative provisions
in future should consider whether there is a possible need to alert subscribers
for these reasons.
(16) Except in cases of persistent late payment or non-payment of bills,
consumers should be protected from immediate disconnection from the network on
the grounds of an unpaid bill and, particularly in the case of disputes over
high bills for premium rate services, should continue to have access to
essential telephone services pending resolution of the dispute. Member States
may decide that such access may continue to be provided only if the subscriber
continues to pay line rental charges.
(17) Quality and price are key factors in a competitive market and national
regulatory authorities should be able to monitor achieved quality of service for
undertakings which have been designated as having universal service obligations.
In relation to the quality of service attained by such undertakings, national
regulatory authorities should be able to take appropriate measures where they
deem it necessary. National regulatory authorities should also be able to
monitor the achieved quality of services of other undertakings providing public
telephone networks and/or publicly available telephone services to users at
(18) Member States should, where necessary, establish mechanisms for financing
the net cost of universal service obligations in cases where it is demonstrated
that the obligations can only be provided at a loss or at a net cost which falls
outside normal commercial standards. It is important to ensure that the net cost
of universal service obligations is properly calculated and that any financing
is undertaken with minimum distortion to the market and to undertakings, and is
compatible with the provisions of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty.
(19) Any calculation of the net cost of universal service should take due
account of costs and revenues, as well as the intangible benefits resulting from
providing universal service, but should not hinder the general aim of ensuring
that pricing structures reflect costs. Any net costs of universal service
obligations should be calculated on the basis of transparent procedures.
(20) Taking into account intangible benefits means that an estimate in monetary
terms, of the indirect benefits that an undertaking derives by virtue of its
position as provider of universal service, should be deducted from the direct
net cost of universal service obligations in order to determine the overall cost
(21) When a universal service obligation represents an unfair burden on an
undertaking, it is appropriate to allow Member States to establish mechanisms
for efficiently recovering net costs. Recovery via public funds constitutes one
method of recovering the net costs of universal service obligations. It is also
reasonable for established net costs to be recovered from all users in a
transparent fashion by means of levies on undertakings. Member States should be
able to finance the net costs of different elements of universal service through
different mechanisms, and/or to finance the net costs of some or all elements
from either of the mechanisms or a combination of both. In the case of cost
recovery by means of levies on undertakings, Member States should ensure that
that the method of allocation amongst them is based on objective and
non-discriminatory criteria and is in accordance with the principle of
proportionality. This principle does not prevent Member States from exempting
new entrants which have not yet achieved any significant market presence. Any
funding mechanism should ensure that market participants only contribute to the
financing of universal service obligations and not to other activities which are
not directly linked to the provision of the universal service obligations.
Recovery mechanisms should in all cases respect the principles of Community law,
and in particular in the case of sharing mechanisms those of non-discrimination
and proportionality. Any funding mechanism should ensure that users in one
Member State do not contribute to universal service costs in another Member
State, for example when making calls from one Member State to another.
(22) Where Member States decide to finance the net cost of universal service
obligations from public funds, this should be understood to comprise funding
from general government budgets including other public financing sources such as
(23) The net cost of universal service obligations may be shared between all or
certain specified classes of undertaking. Member States should ensure that the
sharing mechanism respects the principles of transparency, least market
distortion, non-discrimination and proportionality. Least market distortion
means that contributions should be recovered in a way that as far as possible
minimises the impact of the financial burden falling on end-users, for example
by spreading contributions as widely as possible.
(24) National regulatory authorities should satisfy themselves that those
undertakings benefiting from universal service funding provide a sufficient
level of detail of the specific elements requiring such funding in order to
justify their request. Member States' schemes for the costing and financing of
universal service obligations should be communicated to the Commission for
verification of compatibility with the Treaty. There are incentives for
designated operators to raise the assessed net cost of universal service
obligations. Therefore Member States should ensure effective transparency and
control of amounts charged to finance universal service obligations.
(25) Communications markets continue to evolve in terms of the services used and
the technical means used to deliver them to users. The universal service
obligations, which are defined at a Community level, should be periodically
reviewed with a view to proposing that the scope be changed or redefined. Such a
review should take account of evolving social, commercial and technological
conditions and the fact that any change of scope should be subject to the twin
test of services that become available to a substantial majority of the
population, with a consequent risk of social exclusion for those who can not
afford them. Care should be taken in any change of the scope of universal
service obligations to ensure that certain technological choices are not
artificially promoted above others, that a disproportionate financial burden is
not imposed on sector undertakings (thereby endangering market developments and
innovation) and that any financing burden does not fall unfairly on consumers
with lower incomes. Any change of scope automatically means that any net cost
can be financed via the methods permitted in this Directive. Member States are
not permitted to impose on market players financial contributions which relate
to measures which are not part of universal service obligations. Individual
Member States remain free to impose special measures (outside the scope of
universal service obligations) and finance them in conformity with Community law
but not by means of contributions from market players.
(26) More effective competition across all access and service markets will give
greater choice for users. The extent of effective competition and choice varies
across the Community and varies within Member States between geographical areas
and between access and service markets. Some users may be entirely dependent on
the provision of access and services by an undertaking with significant market
power. In general, for reasons of efficiency and to encourage effective
competition, it is important that the services provided by an undertaking with
significant market power reflect costs. For reasons of efficiency and social
reasons, end-user tariffs should reflect demand conditions as well as cost
conditions, provided that this does not result in distortions of competition.
There is a risk that an undertaking with significant market power may act in
various ways to inhibit entry or distort competition, for example by charging
excessive prices, setting predatory prices, compulsory bundling of retail
services or showing undue preference to certain customers. Therefore, national
regulatory authorities should have powers to impose, as a last resort and after
due consideration, retail regulation on an undertaking with significant market
power. Price cap regulation, geographical averaging or similar instruments, as
well as non-regulatory measures such as publicly available comparisons of retail
tariffs, may be used to achieve the twin objectives of promoting effective
competition whilst pursuing public interest needs, such as maintaining the
affordability of publicly available telephone services for some consumers.
Access to appropriate cost accounting information is necessary, in order for
national regulatory authorities to fulfil their regulatory duties in this area,
including the imposition of any tariff controls. However, regulatory controls on
retail services should only be imposed where national regulatory authorities
consider that relevant wholesale measures or measures regarding carrier
selection or pre-selection would fail to achieve the objective of ensuring
effective competition and public interest.
(27) Where a national regulatory authority imposes obligations to implement a
cost accounting system in order to support price controls, it may itself
undertake an annual audit to ensure compliance with that cost accounting system,
provided that it has the necessary qualified staff, or it may require the audit
to be carried out by another qualified body, independent of the operator
(28) It is considered necessary to ensure the continued application of the
existing provisions relating to the minimum set of leased line services in
Community telecommunications legislation, in particular in Council Directive
92/44/EEC of 5 June 1992 on the application of open network provision to leased
lines(6), until such time as national regulatory authorities determine, in
accordance with the market analysis procedures laid down in Directive 2002/21/EC
of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common
regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services
(Framework Directive)(7), that such provisions are no longer needed because a
sufficiently competitive market has developed in their territory. The degree of
competition is likely to vary between different markets of leased lines in the
minimum set, and in different parts of the territory. In undertaking the market
analysis, national regulatory authorities should make separate assessments for
each market of leased lines in the minimum set, taking into account their
geographic dimension. Leased lines services constitute mandatory services to be
provided without recourse to any compensation mechanisms. The provision of
leased lines outside of the minimum set of leased lines should be covered by
general retail regulatory provisions rather than specific requirements covering
the supply of the minimum set.
(29) National regulatory authorities may also, in the light of an analysis of
the relevant market, require mobile operators with significant market power to
enable their subscribers to access the services of any interconnected provider
of publicly available telephone services on a call-by-call basis or by means of
(30) Contracts are an important tool for users and consumers to ensure a minimum
level of transparency of information and legal security. Most service providers
in a competitive environment will conclude contracts with their customers for
reasons of commercial desirability. In addition to the provisions of this
Directive, the requirements of existing Community consumer protection
legislation relating to contracts, in particular Council Directive 93/13/EEC of
5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts(8) and Directive 97/7/EC of
the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 1997 on the protection of
consumers in respect of distance contracts(9), apply to consumer transactions
relating to electronic networks and services. Specifically, consumers should
enjoy a minimum level of legal certainty in respect of their contractual
relations with their direct telephone service provider, such that the
contractual terms, conditions, quality of service, condition for termination of
the contract and the service, compensation measures and dispute resolution are
specified in their contracts. Where service providers other than direct
telephone service providers conclude contracts with consumers, the same
information should be included in those contracts as well. The measures to
ensure transparency on prices, tariffs, terms and conditions will increase the
ability of consumers to optimise their choices and thus to benefit fully from
(31) End-users should have access to publicly available information on
communications services. Member States should be able to monitor the quality of
services which are offered in their territories. National regulatory authorities
should be able systematically to collect information on the quality of services
offered in their territories on the basis of criteria which allow comparability
between service providers and between Member States. Undertakings providing
communications services, operating in a competitive environment, are likely to
make adequate and up-to-date information on their services publicly available
for reasons of commercial advantage. National regulatory authorities should
nonetheless be able to require publication of such information where it is
demonstrated that such information is not effectively available to the public.
(32) End-users should be able to enjoy a guarantee of interoperability in
respect of all equipment sold in the Community for the reception of digital
television. Member States should be able to require minimum harmonised standards
in respect of such equipment. Such standards could be adapted from time to time
in the light of technological and market developments.
(33) It is desirable to enable consumers to achieve the fullest connectivity
possible to digital television sets. Interoperability is an evolving concept in
dynamic markets. Standards bodies should do their utmost to ensure that
appropriate standards evolve along with the technologies concerned. It is
likewise important to ensure that connectors are available on television sets
that are capable of passing all the necessary elements of a digital signal,
including the audio and video streams, conditional access information, service
information, application program interface (API) information and copy protection
information. This Directive therefore ensures that the functionality of the open
interface for digital television sets is not limited by network operators,
service providers or equipment manufacturers and continues to evolve in line
with technological developments. For display and presentation of digital
interactive television services, the realisation of a common standard through a
market-driven mechanism is recognised as a consumer benefit. Member States and
the Commission may take policy initiatives, consistent with the Treaty, to
encourage this development.
(34) All end-users should continue to enjoy access to operator assistance
services whatever organisation provides access to the public telephone network.
(35) The provision of directory enquiry services and directories is already open
to competition. The provisions of this Directive complement the provisions of
Directive 97/66/EC by giving subscribers a right to have their personal data
included in a printed or electronic directory. All service providers which
assign telephone numbers to their subscribers are obliged to make relevant
information available in a fair, cost-oriented and non-discriminatory manner.
(36) It is important that users should be able to call the single European
emergency number "112", and any other national emergency telephone
numbers, free of charge, from any telephone, including public pay telephones,
without the use of any means of payment. Member States should have already made
the necessary organisational arrangements best suited to the national
organisation of the emergency systems, in order to ensure that calls to this
number are adequately answered and handled. Caller location information, to be
made available to the emergency services, will improve the level of protection
and the security of users of "112" services and assist the emergency
services, to the extent technically feasible, in the discharge of their duties,
provided that the transfer of calls and associated data to the emergency
services concerned is guaranteed. The reception and use of such information
should comply with relevant Community law on the processing of personal data.
Steady information technology improvements will progressively support the
simultaneous handling of several languages over the networks at a reasonable
cost. This in turn will ensure additional safety for European citizens using the
"112" emergency call number.
(37) Easy access to international telephone services is vital for European
citizens and European businesses. "00" has already been established as
the standard international telephone access code for the Community. Special
arrangements for making calls between adjacent locations across borders between
Member States may be established or continued. The ITU has assigned, in
accordance with ITU Recommendation E.164, code "3883" to the European
Telephony Numbering Space (ETNS). In order to ensure connection of calls to the
ETNS, undertakings operating public telephone networks should ensure that calls
using "3883" are directly or indirectly interconnected to ETNS serving
networks specified in the relevant European Telecommunications Standards
Institute (ETSI) standards. Such interconnection arrangements should be governed
by the provisions of Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic
communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive)(10).
(38) Access by end-users to all numbering resources in the Community is a vital
pre-condition for a single market. It should include freephone, premium rate,
and other non-geographic numbers, except where the called subscriber has chosen,
for commercial reasons, to limit access from certain geographical areas. Tariffs
charged to parties calling from outside the Member State concerned need not be
the same as for those parties calling from inside that Member State.
(39) Tone dialling and calling line identification facilities are normally
available on modern telephone exchanges and can therefore increasingly be
provided at little or no expense. Tone dialling is increasingly being used for
user interaction with special services and facilities, including value added
services, and the absence of this facility can prevent the user from making use
of these services. Member States are not required to impose obligations to
provide these facilities when they are already available. Directive 97/66/EC
safeguards the privacy of users with regard to itemised billing, by giving them
the means to protect their right to privacy when calling line identification is
implemented. The development of these services on a pan-European basis would
benefit consumers and is encouraged by this Directive.
(40) Number portability is a key facilitator of consumer choice and effective
competition in a competitive telecommunications environment such that end-users
who so request should be able to retain their number(s) on the public telephone
network independently of the organisation providing service. The provision of
this facility between connections to the public telephone network at fixed and
non-fixed locations is not covered by this Directive. However, Member States may
apply provisions for porting numbers between networks providing services at a
fixed location and mobile networks.
(41) The impact of number portability is considerably strengthened when there is
transparent tariff information, both for end-users who port their numbers and
also for end-users who call those who have ported their numbers. National
regulatory authorities should, where feasible, facilitate appropriate tariff
transparency as part of the implementation of number portability.
(42) When ensuring that pricing for interconnection related to the provision of
number portability is cost-oriented, national regulatory authorities may also
take account of prices available in comparable markets.
(43) Currently, Member States impose certain "must carry" obligations
on networks for the distribution of radio or television broadcasts to the
public. Member States should be able to lay down proportionate obligations on
undertakings under their jurisdiction, in the interest of legitimate public
policy considerations, but such obligations should only be imposed where they
are necessary to meet general interest objectives clearly defined by Member
States in conformity with Community law and should be proportionate, transparent
and subject to periodical review. "Must carry" obligations imposed by
Member States should be reasonable, that is they should be proportionate and
transparent in the light of clearly defined general interest objectives, and
could, where appropriate, entail a provision for proportionate remuneration.
Such "must carry" obligations may include the transmission of services
specifically designed to enable appropriate access by disabled users.
(44) Networks used for the distribution of radio or television broadcasts to the
public include cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcasting networks. They
might also include other networks to the extent that a significant number of
end-users use such networks as their principal means to receive radio and
(45) Services providing content such as the offer for sale of a package of sound
or television broadcasting content are not covered by the common regulatory
framework for electronic communications networks and services. Providers of such
services should not be subject to universal service obligations in respect of
these activities. This Directive is without prejudice to measures taken at
national level, in compliance with Community law, in respect of such services.
(46) Where a Member State seeks to ensure the provision of other specific
services throughout its national territory, such obligations should be
implemented on a cost efficient basis and outside the scope of universal service
obligations. Accordingly, Member States may undertake additional measures (such
as facilitating the development of infrastructure or services in circumstances
where the market does not satisfactorily address the requirements of end-users
or consumers), in conformity with Community law. As a reaction to the
Commission's e-Europe initiative, the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March
2000 called on Member States to ensure that all schools have access to the
Internet and to multimedia resources.
(47) In the context of a competitive environment, the views of interested
parties, including users and consumers, should be taken into account by national
regulatory authorities when dealing with issues related to end-users' rights.
Effective procedures should be available to deal with disputes between
consumers, on the one hand, and undertakings providing publicly available
communications services, on the other. Member States should take full account of
Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles
applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of-court settlement of consumer
(48) Co-regulation could be an appropriate way of stimulating enhanced quality
standards and improved service performance. Co-regulation should be guided by
the same principles as formal regulation, i.e. it should be objective,
justified, proportional, non-discriminatory and transparent.
(49) This Directive should provide for elements of consumer protection,
including clear contract terms and dispute resolution, and tariff transparency
for consumers. It should also encourage the extension of such benefits to other
categories of end-users, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises.
(50) The provisions of this Directive do not prevent a Member State from taking
measures justified on grounds set out in Articles 30 and 46 of the Treaty, and
in particular on grounds of public security, public policy and public morality.
(51) Since the objectives of the proposed action, namely setting a common level
of universal service for telecommunications for all European users and of
harmonising conditions for access to and use of public telephone networks at a
fixed location and related publicly available telephone services and also
achieving a harmonised framework for the regulation of electronic communications
services, electronic communications networks and associated facilities, cannot
be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore by reason of the
scale or effects of the action be better achieved at Community level, the
Community may adopt measures in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity
as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of
proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond
what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.
(52) The measures necessary for the implementation of this Directive should be
adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying
down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the
HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:
SCOPE, AIMS AND DEFINITIONS
Scope and aims
1. Within the framework of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive), this
Directive concerns the provision of electronic communications networks and
services to end-users. The aim is to ensure the availability throughout the
Community of good quality publicly available services through effective
competition and choice and to deal with circumstances in which the needs of
end-users are not satisfactorily met by the market.
2. This Directive establishes the rights of end-users and the corresponding
obligations on undertakings providing publicly available electronic
communications networks and services. With regard to ensuring provision of
universal service within an environment of open and competitive markets, this
Directive defines the minimum set of services of specified quality to which all
end-users have access, at an affordable price in the light of specific national
conditions, without distorting competition. This Directive also sets out
obligations with regard to the provision of certain mandatory services such as
the retail provision of leased lines.
For the purposes of this Directive, the definitions set out in Article 2 of
Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive) shall apply.
The following definitions shall also apply:
(a) "public pay telephone" means a telephone available to the general
public, for the use of which the means of payment may include coins and/or
credit/debit cards and/or pre-payment cards, including cards for use with
(b) "public telephone network" means an electronic communications
network which is used to provide publicly available telephone services; it
supports the transfer between network termination points of speech
communications, and also other forms of communication, such as facsimile and
(c) "publicly available telephone service" means a service available
to the public for originating and receiving national and international calls and
access to emergency services through a number or numbers in a national or
international telephone numbering plan, and in addition may, where relevant,
include one or more of the following services: the provision of operator
assistance, directory enquiry services, directories, provision of public pay
phones, provision of service under special terms, provision of special
facilities for customers with disabilities or with special social needs and/or
the provision of non-geographic services;
(d) "geographic number" means a number from the national numbering
plan where part of its digit structure contains geographic significance used for
routing calls to the physical location of the network termination point (NTP);
(e) "network termination point" (NTP) means the physical point at
which a subscriber is provided with access to a public communications network;
in the case of networks involving switching or routing, the NTP is identified by
means of a specific network address, which may be linked to a subscriber number
(f) "non-geographic numbers" means a number from the national
numbering plan that is not a geographic number. It includes inter alia mobile,
freephone and premium rate numbers.
UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATIONS INCLUDING SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS
Availability of universal service
1. Member States shall ensure that the services set out in this Chapter are made
available at the quality specified to all end-users in their territory,
independently of geographical location, and, in the light of specific national
conditions, at an affordable price.
2. Member States shall determine the most efficient and appropriate approach for
ensuring the implementation of universal service, whilst respecting the
principles of objectivity, transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality.
They shall seek to minimise market distortions, in particular the provision of
services at prices or subject to other terms and conditions which depart from
normal commercial conditions, whilst safeguarding the public interest.
Provision of access at a fixed location
1. Member States shall ensure that all reasonable requests for connection at a
fixed location to the public telephone network and for access to publicly
available telephone services at a fixed location are met by at least one
2. The connection provided shall be capable of allowing end-users to make and
receive local, national and international telephone calls, facsimile
communications and data communications, at data rates that are sufficient to
permit functional Internet access, taking into account prevailing technologies
used by the majority of subscribers and technological feasibility.
Directory enquiry services and directories
1. Member States shall ensure that:
(a) at least one comprehensive directory is available to end-users in a form
approved by the relevant authority, whether printed or electronic, or both, and
is updated on a regular basis, and at least once a year;
(b) at least one comprehensive telephone directory enquiry service is available
to all end-users, including users of public pay telephones.
2. The directories in paragraph 1 shall comprise, subject to the provisions of
Article 11 of Directive 97/66/EC, all subscribers of publicly available
3. Member States shall ensure that the undertaking(s) providing the services
referred to in paragraph 1 apply the principle of non-discrimination to the
treatment of information that has been provided to them by other undertakings.
Public pay telephones
1. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities can impose
obligations on undertakings in order to ensure that public pay telephones are
provided to meet the reasonable needs of end-users in terms of the geographical
coverage, the number of telephones, the accessibility of such telephones to
disabled users and the quality of services.
2. A Member State shall ensure that its national regulatory authority can decide
not to impose obligations under paragraph 1 in all or part of its territory, if
it is satisfied that these facilities or comparable services are widely
available, on the basis of a consultation of interested parties as referred to
in Article 33.
3. Member States shall ensure that it is possible to make emergency calls from
public pay telephones using the single European emergency call number
"112" and other national emergency numbers, all free of charge and
without having to use any means of payment.
Special measures for disabled users
1. Member States shall, where appropriate, take specific measures for disabled
end-users in order to ensure access to and affordability of publicly available
telephone services, including access to emergency services, directory enquiry
services and directories, equivalent to that enjoyed by other end-users.
2. Member States may take specific measures, in the light of national
conditions, to ensure that disabled end-users can also take advantage of the
choice of undertakings and service providers available to the majority of
Designation of undertakings
1. Member States may designate one or more undertakings to guarantee the
provision of universal service as identified in Articles 4, 5, 6 and 7 and,
where applicable, Article 9(2) so that the whole of the national territory can
be covered. Member States may designate different undertakings or sets of
undertakings to provide different elements of universal service and/or to cover
different parts of the national territory.
2. When Member States designate undertakings in part or all of the national
territory as having universal service obligations, they shall do so using an
efficient, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory designation mechanism,
whereby no undertaking is a priori excluded from being designated. Such
designation methods shall ensure that universal service is provided in a
cost-effective manner and may be used as a means of determining the net cost of
the universal service obligation in accordance with Article 12.
Affordability of tariffs
1. National regulatory authorities shall monitor the evolution and level of
retail tariffs of the services identified in Articles 4, 5, 6 and 7 as falling
under the universal service obligations and provided by designated undertakings,
in particular in relation to national consumer prices and income.
2. Member States may, in the light of national conditions, require that
designated undertakings provide tariff options or packages to consumers which
depart from those provided under normal commercial conditions, in particular to
ensure that those on low incomes or with special social needs are not prevented
from accessing or using the publicly available telephone service.
3. Member States may, besides any provision for designated undertakings to
provide special tariff options or to comply with price caps or geographical
averaging or other similar schemes, ensure that support is provided to consumers
identified as having low incomes or special social needs.
4. Member States may require undertakings with obligations under Articles 4, 5,
6 and 7 to apply common tariffs, including geographical averaging, throughout
the territory, in the light of national conditions or to comply with price caps.
5. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that, where a designated
undertaking has an obligation to provide special tariff options, common tariffs,
including geographical averaging, or to comply with price caps, the conditions
are fully transparent and are published and applied in accordance with the
principle of non-discrimination. National regulatory authorities may require
that specific schemes be modified or withdrawn.
Control of expenditure
1. Member States shall ensure that designated undertakings, in providing
facilities and services additional to those referred to in Articles 4, 5, 6, 7
and 9(2), establish terms and conditions in such a way that the subscriber is
not obliged to pay for facilities or services which are not necessary or not
required for the service requested.
2. Member States shall ensure that designated undertakings with obligations
under Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9(2) provide the specific facilities and services
set out in Annex I, Part A, in order that subscribers can monitor and control
expenditure and avoid unwarranted disconnection of service.
3. Member States shall ensure that the relevant authority is able to waive the
requirements of paragraph 2 in all or part of its national territory if it is
satisfied that the facility is widely available.
Quality of service of designated undertakings
1. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that all designated undertakings
with obligations under Articles 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9(2) publish adequate and
up-to-date information concerning their performance in the provision of
universal service, based on the quality of service parameters, definitions and
measurement methods set out in Annex III. The published information shall also
be supplied to the national regulatory authority.
2. National regulatory authorities may specify, inter alia, additional quality
of service standards, where relevant parameters have been developed, to assess
the performance of undertakings in the provision of services to disabled
end-users and disabled consumers. National regulatory authorities shall ensure
that information concerning the performance of undertakings in relation to these
parameters is also published and made available to the national regulatory
3. National regulatory authorities may, in addition, specify the content, form
and manner of information to be published, in order to ensure that end-users and
consumers have access to comprehensive, comparable and user-friendly
4. National regulatory authorities shall be able to set performance targets for
those undertakings with universal service obligations at least under Article 4.
In so doing, national regulatory authorities shall take account of views of
interested parties, in particular as referred to in Article 33.
5. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to
monitor compliance with these performance targets by designated undertakings.
6. Persistent failure by an undertaking to meet performance targets may result
in specific measures being taken in accordance with Directive 2002/20/EC of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of
electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive)(13).
National regulatory authorities shall be able to order independent audits or
similar reviews of the performance data, paid for by the undertaking concerned,
in order to ensure the accuracy and comparability of the data made available by
undertakings with universal service obligations.
Costing of universal service obligations
1. Where national regulatory authorities consider that the provision of
universal service as set out in Articles 3 to 10 may represent an unfair burden
on undertakings designated to provide universal service, they shall calculate
the net costs of its provision.
For that purpose, national regulatory authorities shall:
(a) calculate the net cost of the universal service obligation, taking into
account any market benefit which accrues to an undertaking designated to provide
universal service, in accordance with Annex IV, Part A; or
(b) make use of the net costs of providing universal service identified by a
designation mechanism in accordance with Article 8(2).
2. The accounts and/or other information serving as the basis for the
calculation of the net cost of universal service obligations under paragraph
1(a) shall be audited or verified by the national regulatory authority or a body
independent of the relevant parties and approved by the national regulatory
authority. The results of the cost calculation and the conclusions of the audit
shall be publicly available.
Financing of universal service obligations
1. Where, on the basis of the net cost calculation referred to in Article 12,
national regulatory authorities find that an undertaking is subject to an unfair
burden, Member States shall, upon request from a designated undertaking, decide:
(a) to introduce a mechanism to compensate that undertaking for the determined
net costs under transparent conditions from public funds; and/or
(b) to share the net cost of universal service obligations between providers of
electronic communications networks and services.
2. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 1(b), Member States shall
establish a sharing mechanism administered by the national regulatory authority
or a body independent from the beneficiaries under the supervision of the
national regulatory authority. Only the net cost, as determined in accordance
with Article 12, of the obligations laid down in Articles 3 to 10 may be
3. A sharing mechanism shall respect the principles of transparency, least
market distortion, non-discrimination and proportionality, in accordance with
the principles of Annex IV, Part B. Member States may choose not to require
contributions from undertakings whose national turnover is less than a set
4. Any charges related to the sharing of the cost of universal service
obligations shall be unbundled and identified separately for each undertaking.
Such charges shall not be imposed or collected from undertakings that are not
providing services in the territory of the Member State that has established the
1. Where a mechanism for sharing the net cost of universal service obligations
as referred to in Article 13 is established, national regulatory authorities
shall ensure that the principles for cost sharing, and details of the mechanism
used, are publicly available.
2. Subject to Community and national rules on business confidentiality, national
regulatory authorities shall ensure that an annual report is published giving
the calculated cost of universal service obligations, identifying the
contributions made by all the undertakings involved, and identifying any market
benefits, that may have accrued to the undertaking(s) designated to provide
universal service, where a fund is actually in place and working.
Review of the scope of universal service
1. The Commission shall periodically review the scope of universal service, in
particular with a view to proposing to the European Parliament and the Council
that the scope be changed or redefined. A review shall be carried out, on the
first occasion within two years after the date of application referred to in
Article 38(1), second subparagraph, and subsequently every three years.
2. This review shall be undertaken in the light of social, economic and
technological developments, taking into account, inter alia, mobility and data
rates in the light of the prevailing technologies used by the majority of
subscribers. The review process shall be undertaken in accordance with Annex V.
The Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council
regarding the outcome of the review.
REGULATORY CONTROLS ON UNDERTAKINGS WITH SIGNIFICANT MARKET POWER IN SPECIFIC
Review of obligations
1. Member States shall maintain all obligations relating to:
(a) retail tariffs for the provision of access to and use of the public
telephone network, imposed under Article 17 of Directive 98/10/EC of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 1998 on the application of
open network provision (ONP) to voice telephony and on universal service for
telecommunications in a competitive environment(14);
(b) carrier selection or pre-selection, imposed under Directive 97/33/EC of the
European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 on interconnection in
telecommunications with regard to ensuring universal service and
interoperability through application of the principles of open network provision
(c) leased lines, imposed under Articles 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 of Directive
until a review has been carried out and a determination made in accordance with
the procedure in paragraph 3 of this Article.
2. The Commission shall indicate relevant markets for the obligations relating
to retail markets in the initial recommendation on relevant product and service
markets and the Decision identifying transnational markets to be adopted in
accordance with Article 15 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive).
3. Member States shall ensure that, as soon as possible after the entry into
force of this Directive, and periodically thereafter, national regulatory
authorities undertake a market analysis, in accordance with the procedure set
out in Article 16 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive) to determine
whether to maintain, amend or withdraw the obligations relating to retail
markets. Measures taken shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article
7 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive).
Regulatory controls on retail services
1. Member States shall ensure that, where:
(a) as a result of a market analysis carried out in accordance with Article
16(3) a national regulatory authority determines that a given retail market
identified in accordance with Article 15 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework
Directive) is not effectively competitive, and
(b) the national regulatory authority concludes that obligations imposed under
Directive 2002/19/EC (Access Directive), or Article 19 of this Directive would
not result in the achievement of the objectives set out in Article 8 of
Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive),
national regulatory authorities shall impose appropriate regulatory obligations
on undertakings identified as having significant market power on a given retail
market in accordance with Article 14 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework
2. Obligations imposed under paragraph 1 shall be based on the nature of the
problem identified and be proportionate and justified in the light of the
objectives laid down in Article 8 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive).
The obligations imposed may include requirements that the identified
undertakings do not charge excessive prices, inhibit market entry or restrict
competition by setting predatory prices, show undue preference to specific
end-users or unreasonably bundle services. National regulatory authorities may
apply to such undertakings appropriate retail price cap measures, measures to
control individual tariffs, or measures to orient tariffs towards costs or
prices on comparable markets, in order to protect end-user interests whilst
promoting effective competition.
3. National regulatory authorities shall, on request, submit information to the
Commission concerning the retail controls applied and, where appropriate, the
cost accounting systems used by the undertakings concerned.
4. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that, where an undertaking is
subject to retail tariff regulation or other relevant retail controls, the
necessary and appropriate cost accounting systems are implemented. National
regulatory authorities may specify the format and accounting methodology to be
used. Compliance with the cost accounting system shall be verified by a
qualified independent body. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that a
statement concerning compliance is published annually.
5. Without prejudice to Article 9(2) and Article 10, national regulatory
authorities shall not apply retail control mechanisms under paragraph 1 of this
Article to geographical or user markets where they are satisfied that there is
Regulatory controls on the minimum set of leased lines
1. Where, as a result of the market analysis carried out in accordance with
Article 16(3), a national regulatory authority determines that the market for
the provision of part or all of the minimum set of leased lines is not
effectively competitive, it shall identify undertakings with significant market
power in the provision of those specific elements of the minimum set of leased
lines services in all or part of its territory in accordance with Article 14 of
Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive). The national regulatory authority
shall impose obligations regarding the provision of the minimum set of leased
lines, as identified in the list of standards published in the Official Journal
of the European Communities in accordance with Article 17 of Directive
2002/21/EC (Framework Directive), and the conditions for such provision set out
in Annex VII to this Directive, on such undertakings in relation to those
specific leased line markets.
2. Where as a result of the market analysis carried out in accordance with
Article 16(3), a national regulatory authority determines that a relevant market
for the provision of leased lines in the minimum set is effectively competitive,
it shall withdraw the obligations referred to in paragraph 1 in relation to this
specific leased line market.
3. The minimum set of leased lines with harmonised characteristics, and
associated standards, shall be published in the Official Journal of the European
Communities as part of the list of standards referred to in Article 17 of
Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive). The Commission may adopt amendments
necessary to adapt the minimum set of leased lines to new technical developments
and to changes in market demand, including the possible deletion of certain
types of leased line from the minimum set, acting in accordance with the
procedure referred to in Article 37(2) of this Directive.
Carrier selection and carrier pre-selection
1. National regulatory authorities shall require undertakings notified as having
significant market power for the provision of connection to and use of the
public telephone network at a fixed location in accordance with Article 16(3) to
enable their subscribers to access the services of any interconnected provider
of publicly available telephone services:
(a) on a call-by-call basis by dialling a carrier selection code; and
(b) by means of pre-selection, with a facility to override any pre-selected
choice on a call-by-call basis by dialling a carrier selection code.
2. User requirements for these facilities to be implemented on other networks or
in other ways shall be assessed in accordance with the market analysis procedure
laid down in Article 16 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive) and
implemented in accordance with Article 12 of Directive 2002/19/EC (Access
3. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that pricing for access and
interconnection related to the provision of the facilities in paragraph 1 is
cost oriented and that direct charges to subscribers, if any, do not act as a
disincentive for the use of these facilities.
END-USER INTERESTS AND RIGHTS
1. Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 apply without prejudice to Community rules on consumer
protection, in particular Directives 97/7/EC and 93/13/EC, and national rules in
conformity with Community law.
2. Member States shall ensure that, where subscribing to services providing
connection and/or access to the public telephone network, consumers have a right
to a contract with an undertaking or undertakings providing such services. The
contract shall specify at least:
(a) the identity and address of the supplier;
(b) services provided, the service quality levels offered, as well as the time
for the initial connection;
(c) the types of maintenance service offered;
(d) particulars of prices and tariffs and the means by which up-to-date
information on all applicable tariffs and maintenance charges may be obtained;
(e) the duration of the contract, the conditions for renewal and termination of
services and of the contract;
(f) any compensation and the refund arrangements which apply if contracted
service quality levels are not met; and
(g) the method of initiating procedures for settlement of disputes in accordance
with Article 34.
Member States may extend these obligations to cover other end-users.
3. Where contracts are concluded between consumers and electronic communications
services providers other than those providing connection and/or access to the
public telephone network, the information in paragraph 2 shall also be included
in such contracts. Member States may extend this obligation to cover other
4. Subscribers shall have a right to withdraw from their contracts without
penalty upon notice of proposed modifications in the contractual conditions.
Subscribers shall be given adequate notice, not shorter than one month, ahead of
any such modifications and shall be informed at the same time of their right to
withdraw, without penalty, from such contracts, if they do not accept the new
Transparency and publication of information
1. Member States shall ensure that transparent and up-to-date information on
applicable prices and tariffs, and on standard terms and conditions, in respect
of access to and use of publicly available telephone services is available to
end-users and consumers, in accordance with the provisions of Annex II.
2. National regulatory authorities shall encourage the provision of information
to enable end-users, as far as appropriate, and consumers to make an independent
evaluation of the cost of alternative usage patterns, by means of, for instance,
Quality of service
1. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are, after
taking account of the views of interested parties, able to require undertakings
that provide publicly available electronic communications services to publish
comparable, adequate and up-to-date information for end-users on the quality of
their services. The information shall, on request, also be supplied to the
national regulatory authority in advance of its publication.
2. National regulatory authorities may specify, inter alia, the quality of
service parameters to be measured, and the content, form and manner of
information to be published, in order to ensure that end-users have access to
comprehensive, comparable and user-friendly information. Where appropriate, the
parameters, definitions and measurement methods given in Annex III could be
Integrity of the network
Member States shall take all necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the
public telephone network at fixed locations and, in the event of catastrophic
network breakdown or in cases of force majeure, the availability of the public
telephone network and publicly available telephone services at fixed locations.
Member States shall ensure that undertakings providing publicly available
telephone services at fixed locations take all reasonable steps to ensure
uninterrupted access to emergency services.
Interoperability of consumer digital television equipment
In accordance with the provisions of Annex VI, Member States shall ensure the
interoperability of the consumer digital television equipment referred to
Operator assistance and directory enquiry services
1. Member States shall ensure that subscribers to publicly available telephone
services have the right to have an entry in the publicly available directory
referred to in Article 5(1)(a).
2. Member States shall ensure that all undertakings which assign telephone
numbers to subscribers meet all reasonable requests to make available, for the
purposes of the provision of publicly available directory enquiry services and
directories, the relevant information in an agreed format on terms which are
fair, objective, cost oriented and non-discriminatory.
3. Member States shall ensure that all end-users provided with a connection to
the public telephone network can access operator assistance services and
directory enquiry services in accordance with Article 5(1)(b).
4. Member States shall not maintain any regulatory restrictions which prevent
end-users in one Member State from accessing directly the directory enquiry
service in another Member State.
5. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 apply subject to the requirements of Community
legislation on the protection of personal data and privacy and, in particular,
Article 11 of Directive 97/66/EC.
Single European emergency call number
1. Member States shall ensure that, in addition to any other national emergency
call numbers specified by the national regulatory authorities, all end-users of
publicly available telephone services, including users of public pay telephones,
are able to call the emergency services free of charge, by using the single
European emergency call number "112".
2. Member States shall ensure that calls to the single European emergency call
number "112" are appropriately answered and handled in a manner best
suited to the national organisation of emergency systems and within the
technological possibilities of the networks.
3. Member States shall ensure that undertakings which operate public telephone
networks make caller location information available to authorities handling
emergencies, to the extent technically feasible, for all calls to the single
European emergency call number "112".
4. Member States shall ensure that citizens are adequately informed about the
existence and use of the single European emergency call number "112".
European telephone access codes
1. Member States shall ensure that the "00" code is the standard
international access code. Special arrangements for making calls between
adjacent locations across borders between Member States may be established or
continued. The end-users of publicly available telephone services in the
locations concerned shall be fully informed of such arrangements.
2. Member States shall ensure that all undertakings that operate public
telephone networks handle all calls to the European telephony numbering space,
without prejudice to the need for an undertaking that operates a public
telephone network to recover the cost of the conveyance of calls on its network.
Member States shall ensure that end-users from other Member States are able to
access non-geographic numbers within their territory where technically and
economically feasible, except where a called subscriber has chosen for
commercial reasons to limit access by calling parties located in specific
Provision of additional facilities
1. Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to
require all undertakings that operate public telephone networks to make
available to end-users the facilities listed in Annex I, Part B, subject to
technical feasibility and economic viability.
2. A Member State may decide to waive paragraph 1 in all or part of its
territory if it considers, after taking into account the views of interested
parties, that there is sufficient access to these facilities.
3. Without prejudice to Article 10(2), Member States may impose the obligations
in Annex I, Part A, point (e), concerning disconnection as a general requirement
on all undertakings.
1. Member States shall ensure that all subscribers of publicly available
telephone services, including mobile services, who so request can retain their
number(s) independently of the undertaking providing the service:
(a) in the case of geographic numbers, at a specific location; and
(b) in the case of non-geographic numbers, at any location.
This paragraph does not apply to the porting of numbers between networks
providing services at a fixed location and mobile networks.
2. National regulatory authorities shall ensure that pricing for interconnection
related to the provision of number portability is cost oriented and that direct
charges to subscribers, if any, do not act as a disincentive for the use of
3. National regulatory authorities shall not impose retail tariffs for the
porting of numbers in a manner that would distort competition, such as by
setting specific or common retail tariffs.
"Must carry" obligations
1. Member States may impose reasonable "must carry" obligations, for
the transmission of specified radio and television broadcast channels and
services, on undertakings under their jurisdiction providing electronic
communications networks used for the distribution of radio or television
broadcasts to the public where a significant number of end-users of such
networks use them as their principal means to receive radio and television
broadcasts. Such obligations shall only be imposed where they are necessary to
meet clearly defined general interest objectives and shall be proportionate and
transparent. The obligations shall be subject to periodical review.
2. Neither paragraph 1 of this Article nor Article 3(2) of Directive 2002/19/EC
(Access Directive) shall prejudice the ability of Member States to determine
appropriate remuneration, if any, in respect of measures taken in accordance
with this Article while ensuring that, in similar circumstances, there is no
discrimination in the treatment of undertakings providing electronic
communications networks. Where remuneration is provided for, Member States shall
ensure that it is applied in a proportionate and transparent manner.
GENERAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Additional mandatory services
Member States may decide to make additional services, apart from services within
the universal service obligations as defined in Chapter II, publicly available
in its own territory but, in such circumstances, no compensation mechanism
involving specific undertakings may be imposed.
Consultation with interested parties
1. Member States shall ensure as far as appropriate that national regulatory
authorities take account of the views of end-users, and consumers (including, in
particular, disabled users), manufacturers, undertakings that provide electronic
communications networks and/or services on issues related to all end-user and
consumer rights concerning publicly available electronic communications
services, in particular where they have a significant impact on the market.
2. Where appropriate, interested parties may develop, with the guidance of
national regulatory authorities, mechanisms, involving consumers, user groups
and service providers, to improve the general quality of service provision by,
inter alia, developing and monitoring codes of conduct and operating standards.
Out-of-court dispute resolution
1. Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive
out-of-court procedures are available for dealing with unresolved disputes,
involving consumers, relating to issues covered by this Directive. Member States
shall adopt measures to ensure that such procedures enable disputes to be
settled fairly and promptly and may, where warranted, adopt a system of
reimbursement and/or compensation. Member States may extend these obligations to
cover disputes involving other end-users.
2. Member States shall ensure that their legislation does not hamper the
establishment of complaints offices and the provision of on-line services at the
appropriate territorial level to facilitate access to dispute resolution by
consumers and end-users.
3. Where such disputes involve parties in different Member States, Member States
shall coordinate their efforts with a view to bringing about a resolution of the
4. This Article is without prejudice to national court procedures.
Amendments necessary to adapt Annexes I, II, III, VI and VII to technological
developments or to changes in market demand shall be adopted by the Commission,
acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 37(2).
Notification, monitoring and review procedures
1. National regulatory authorities shall notify to the Commission by at the
latest the date of application referred to in Article 38(1), second
subparagraph, and immediately in the event of any change thereafter in the names
of undertakings designated as having universal service obligations under Article
The Commission shall make the information available in a readily accessible
form, and shall distribute it to the Communications Committee referred to in
2. National regulatory authorities shall notify to the Commission the names of
operators deemed to have significant market power for the purposes of this
Directive, and the obligations imposed upon them under this Directive. Any
changes affecting the obligations imposed upon undertakings or of the
undertakings affected under the provisions of this Directive shall be notified
to the Commission without delay.
3. The Commission shall periodically review the functioning of this Directive
and report to the European Parliament and to the Council, on the first occasion
not later than three years after the date of application referred to in Article
38(1), second subparagraph. The Member States and national regulatory
authorities shall supply the necessary information to the Commission for this
1. The Commission shall be assisted by the Communications Committee, set up by
Article 22 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive).
2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 5 and 7 of Decision
1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.
The period laid down in Article 5(6) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be three
3. The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.
1. Member States shall adopt and publish the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 24 July
2003 at the latest. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof.
They shall apply those measures from 25 July 2003.
2. When Member States adopt these measures, they shall contain a reference to
this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their
official publication. The methods of making such a reference shall be laid down
by the Member States.
3. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the provisions
of national law which they adopt in the field governed by this Directive and of
any subsequent modifications to those provisions.
Entry into force
This Directive shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the
Official Journal of the European Communities.
This Directive is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Brussels, 7 March 2002.
For the European Parliament
For the Council
J. C. Aparicio
(1) OJ C 365 E, 19.12.2000, p. 238 and OJ C 332 E, 27.11.2001, p. 292.
(2) OJ C 139, 11.5.2001, p. 15.
(3) OJ C 144, 16.5.2001, p. 60.
(4) Opinion of the European Parliament of 13 June 2001 (not yet published in the
Official Journal), Council Common Position of 17 September 2001 (OJ C 337,
30.11.2001, p. 55) and Decision of the European Parliament of 12 December 2001
(not yet published in the Official Journal). Council Decision of 14 February
(5) OJ L 24, 30.1.1998, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 165, 19.6.1992, p. 27. Directive as last amended by Commission Decision
No 98/80/EC (OJ L 14, 20.1.1998, p. 27).
(7) See page 33 of this Official Journal.
(8) OJ L 95, 21.4.1993, p. 29.
(9) OJ L 144, 4.6.1997, p. 19.
(10) See page 7 of this Official Journal.
(11) OJ L 115, 17.4.1998, p. 31.
(12) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.
(13) See page 21 of this Official Journal.
(14) OJ L 101, 1.4.1998, p. 24.
(15) OJ L 199, 26.7.1997, p. 32. Directive as amended by Directive 98/61/EC (OJ
L 268, 3.10.1998, p. 37).
DESCRIPTION OF FACILITIES AND SERVICES REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 10 (CONTROL OF
EXPENDITURE) AND ARTICLE 29 (ADDITIONAL FACILITIES)
Part A: Facilities and services referred to in Article 10
(a) Itemised billing
Member States are to ensure that national regulatory authorities, subject to the
requirements of relevant legislation on the protection of personal data and
privacy, may lay down the basic level of itemised bills which are to be provided
by designated undertakings (as established in Article 8) to consumers free of
charge in order that they can:
(i) allow verification and control of the charges incurred in using the public
telephone network at a fixed location and/or related publicly available
telephone services, and
(ii) adequately monitor their usage and expenditure and thereby exercise a
reasonable degree of control over their bills.
Where appropriate, additional levels of detail may be offered to subscribers at
reasonable tariffs or at no charge.
Calls which are free of charge to the calling subscriber, including calls to
helplines, are not to be identified in the calling subscriber's itemised bill.
(b) Selective call barring for outgoing calls, free of charge
I.e. the facility whereby the subscriber can, on request to the telephone
service provider, bar outgoing calls of defined types or to defined types of
numbers free of charge.
(c) Pre-payment systems
Member States are to ensure that national regulatory authorities may require
designated undertakings to provide means for consumers to pay for access to the
public telephone network and use of publicly available telephone services on
(d) Phased payment of connection fees
Member States are to ensure that national regulatory authorities may require
designated undertakings to allow consumers to pay for connection to the public
telephone network on the basis of payments phased over time.
(e) Non-payment of bills
Member States are to authorise specified measures, which are to be
proportionate, non-discriminatory and published, to cover non-payment of
telephone bills for use of the public telephone network at fixed locations.
These measures are to ensure that due warning of any consequent service
interruption or disconnection is given to the subscriber beforehand. Except in
cases of fraud, persistent late payment or non-payment, these measures are to
ensure, as far as is technically feasible, that any service interruption is
confined to the service concerned. Disconnection for non-payment of bills should
take place only after due warning is given to the subscriber. Member States may
allow a period of limited service prior to complete disconnection, during which
only calls that do not incur a charge to the subscriber (e.g. "112"
calls) are permitted.
Part B: List of facilities referred to in Article 29
(a) Tone dialling or DTMF (dual-tone multi-frequency operation)
I.e. the public telephone network supports the use of DTMF tones as defined in
ETSI ETR 207 for end-to-end signalling throughout the network both within a
Member State and between Member States.
(b) Calling-line identification
I.e. the calling party's number is presented to the called party prior to the
call being established.
This facility should be provided in accordance with relevant legislation on
protection of personal data and privacy, in particular Directive 97/66/EC.
To the extent technically feasible, operators should provide data and signals to
facilitate the offering of calling-line identity and tone dialling across Member
INFORMATION TO BE PUBLISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 21 (TRANSPARENCY AND
PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION)
The national regulatory authority has a responsibility to ensure that the
information in this Annex is published, in accordance with Article 21. It is for
the national regulatory authority to decide which information is to be published
by the undertakings providing public telephone networks and/or publicly
available telephone services and which information is to be published by the
national regulatory authority itself, so as to ensure that consumers are able to
make informed choices.
1. Name(s) and address(es) of undertaking(s)
I.e. names and head office addresses of undertakings providing public telephone
networks and/or publicly available telephone services.
2. Publicly available telephone services offered
2.1. Scope of the publicly available telephone service
Description of the publicly available telephone services offered, indicating
what is included in the subscription charge and the periodic rental charge (e.g.
operator services, directories, directory enquiry services, selective call
barring, itemised billing, maintenance, etc.).
2.2. Standard tariffs covering access, all types of usage charges, maintenance,
and including details of standard discounts applied and special and targeted
2.3. Compensation/refund policy, including specific details of any
compensation/refund schemes offered.
2.4. Types of maintenance service offered.
2.5. Standard contract conditions, including any minimum contractual period, if
3. Dispute settlement mechanisms including those developed by the undertaking.
4. Information about rights as regards universal service, including the
facilities and services mentioned in Annex I.
QUALITY OF SERVICE PARAMETERS
Supply-time and quality-of-service parameters, definitions and measurement
methods referred to Articles 11 and 22
Version number of ETSI EG 201 769-1 is 1.1.1 (April 2000).
CALCULATING THE NET COST, IF ANY, OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATIONS AND
ESTABLISHING ANY RECOVERY OR SHARING MECHANISM IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLES 12
Part A: Calculation of net cost
Universal service obligations refer to those obligations placed upon an
undertaking by a Member State which concern the provision of a network and
service throughout a specified geographical area, including, where required,
averaged prices in that geographical area for the provision of that service or
provision of specific tariff options for consumers with low incomes or with
special social needs.
National regulatory authorities are to consider all means to ensure appropriate
incentives for undertakings (designated or not) to provide universal service
obligations cost efficiently. In undertaking a calculation exercise, the net
cost of universal service obligations is to be calculated as the difference
between the net cost for a designated undertaking of operating with the
universal service obligations and operating without the universal service
obligations. This applies whether the network in a particular Member State is
fully developed or is still undergoing development and expansion. Due attention
is to be given to correctly assessing the costs that any designated undertaking
would have chosen to avoid had there been no universal service obligation. The
net cost calculation should assess the benefits, including intangible benefits,
to the universal service operator.
The calculation is to be based upon the costs attributable to:
(i) elements of the identified services which can only be provided at a loss or
provided under cost conditions falling outside normal commercial standards.
This category may include service elements such as access to emergency telephone
services, provision of certain public pay telephones, provision of certain
services or equipment for disabled people, etc;
(ii) specific end-users or groups of end-users who, taking into account the cost
of providing the specified network and service, the revenue generated and any
geographical averaging of prices imposed by the Member State, can only be served
at a loss or under cost conditions falling outside normal commercial standards.
This category includes those end-users or groups of end-users which would not be
served by a commercial operator which did not have an obligation to provide
The calculation of the net cost of specific aspects of universal service
obligations is to be made separately and so as to avoid the double counting of
any direct or indirect benefits and costs. The overall net cost of universal
service obligations to any undertaking is to be calculated as the sum of the net
costs arising from the specific components of universal service obligations,
taking account of any intangible benefits. The responsibility for verifying the
net cost lies with the national regulatory authority.
Part B: Recovery of any net costs of universal service obligations
The recovery or financing of any net costs of universal service obligations
requires designated undertakings with universal service obligations to be
compensated for the services they provide under non-commercial conditions.
Because such a compensation involves financial transfers, Member States are to
ensure that these are undertaken in an objective, transparent,
non-discriminatory and proportionate manner. This means that the transfers
result in the least distortion to competition and to user demand.
In accordance with Article 13(3), a sharing mechanism based on a fund should use
a transparent and neutral means for collecting contributions that avoids the
danger of a double imposition of contributions falling on both outputs and
inputs of undertakings.
The independent body administering the fund is to be responsible for collecting
contributions from undertakings which are assessed as liable to contribute to
the net cost of universal service obligations in the Member State and is to
oversee the transfer of sums due and/or administrative payments to the
undertakings entitled to receive payments from the fund.
PROCESS FOR REVIEWING THE SCOPE OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE
In considering whether a review of the scope of universal service obligations
should be undertaken, the Commission is to take into consideration the following
- social and market developments in terms of the services used by consumers,
- social and market developments in terms of the availability and choice of
services to consumers,
- technological developments in terms of the way services are provided to
In considering whether the scope of universal service obligations be changed or
redefined, the Commission is to take into consideration the following elements:
- are specific services available to and used by a majority of consumers and
does the lack of availability or non-use by a minority of consumers result in
social exclusion, and
- does the availability and use of specific services convey a general net
benefit to all consumers such that public intervention is warranted in
circumstances where the specific services are not provided to the public under
normal commercial circumstances?
INTEROPERABILITY OF DIGITAL CONSUMER EQUIPMENT REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 24
1. The common scrambling algorithm and free-to-air reception
All consumer equipment intended for the reception of digital television signals,
for sale or rent or otherwise made available in the Community, capable of
descrambling digital television signals, is to possess the capability to:
- allow the descrambling of such signals according to the common European
scrambling algorithm as administered by a recognised European standards
organisation, currently ETSI;
- display signals that have been transmitted in clear provided that, in the
event that such equipment is rented, the rentee is in compliance with the
relevant rental agreement.
2. Interoperability for analogue and digital television sets
Any analogue television set with an integral screen of visible diagonal greater
than 42 cm which is put on the market for sale or rent in the Community is to be
fitted with at least one open interface socket, as standardised by a recognised
European standards organisation, e.g. as given in the CENELEC EN 50 049-1:1997
standard, permitting simple connection of peripherals, especially additional
decoders and digital receivers.
Any digital television set with an integral screen of visible diagonal greater
than 30 cm which is put on the market for sale or rent in the Community is to be
fitted with at least one open interface socket (either standardised by, or
conforming to a standard adopted by, a recognised European standards
organisation, or conforming to an industry-wide specification) e.g. the DVB
common interface connector, permitting simple connection of peripherals, and
able to pass all the elements of a digital television signal, including
information relating to interactive and conditionally accessed services.
CONDITIONS FOR THE MINIMUM SET OF LEASED LINES REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 18
In accordance with the procedure in Article 18, provision of the minimum set of
leased lines under the conditions established by Directive 92/44/EC should
continue until such time as the national regulatory authority determines that
there is effective competition in the relevant leased lines market.
National regulatory authorities are to ensure that provision of the minimum set
of leased lines referred to in Article 18 follows the basic principles of
non-discrimination, cost orientation and transparency.
1. Non discrimination
National regulatory authorities are to ensure that the organisations identified
as having significant market power pursuant to Article 18(1) adhere to the
principle of non-discrimination when providing leased lines referred to in
Article 18. Those organisations are to apply similar conditions in similar
circumstances to organisations providing similar services, and are to provide
leased lines to others under the same conditions and of the same quality as they
provide for their own services, or those of their subsidiaries or partners,
2. Cost orientation
National regulatory authorities are, where appropriate, to ensure that tariffs
for leased lines referred to in Article 18 follow the basic principles of cost
To this end, national regulatory authorities are to ensure that undertakings
identified as having significant market power pursuant to Article 18(1)
formulate and put in practice a suitable cost accounting system.
National regulatory authorities are to keep available, with an adequate level of
detail, information on the cost accounting systems applied by such undertakings.
They are to submit this information to the Commission on request.
National regulatory authorities are to ensure that the following information in
respect of the minimum set of leased lines referred to in Article 18 is
published in an easily accessible form.
3.1. Technical characteristics, including the physical and electrical
characteristics as well as the detailed technical and performance specifications
which apply at the network termination point.
3.2. Tariffs, including the initial connection charges, the periodic rental
charges and other charges. Where tariffs are differentiated, this must be
Where, in response to a particular request, an organisation identified as having
significant market power pursuant to Article 18(1) considers it unreasonable to
provide a leased line in the minimum set under its published tariffs and supply
conditions, it must seek the agreement of the national regulatory authority to
vary those conditions in that case.
3.3. Supply conditions, including at least the following elements:
- information concerning the ordering procedure,
- the typical delivery period, which is the period, counted from the date when
the user has made a firm request for a leased line, in which 95 % of all leased
lines of the same type have been put through to the customers.
This period will be established on the basis of the actual delivery periods of
leased lines during a recent time interval of reasonable duration. The
calculation must not include cases where late delivery periods were requested by
- the contractual period, which includes the period which is in general laid
down in the contract and the minimum contractual period which the user is
obliged to accept,
- the typical repair time, which is the period, counted from the time when a
failure message has been given to the responsible unit within the undertaking
identified as having significant market power pursuant to Article 18(1) up to
the moment in which 80 % of all leased lines of the same type have been
re-established and in appropriate cases notified back in operation to the users.
Where different classes of quality of repair are offered for the same type of
leased lines, the different typical repair times shall be published,
- any refund procedure.
In addition where a Member State considers that the achieved performance for the
provision of the minimum set of leased lines does not meet users' needs, it may
define appropriate targets for the supply conditions listed above.