On 4 December 2018, the Council of the European Union (the “Council”) formally approved a major reform of the European telecom regulatory framework, the European Electronic Communications Code (the “EECC”). The Council also approved an associated regulation on the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (“BEREC Regulation”).

The Council’s approval represents the final step in the EECC’s legislative process, following agreement in the trilogue in June 2018 and subsequent approval by the European Parliament of the compromise text in November 2018.

The approval also represents a major achievement for the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy (“DSM”). The EECC will reform many aspects of the existing telecommunications regulatory framework, including by introducing new rules for spectrum management; rules to incentivize investment in high-speed broadband networks; and the extension of certain existing telecoms requirements to “over-the-top” (“OTT”) providers such as instant messaging and VoIP providers.

For further details on the EECC (and the BEREC Regulation), please see a prior Covington blog post available here.

The EECC and the BEREC Regulation will come into effect three days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU, which will take place on 17 December; Member States will then have two years to transpose its provisions into domestic law.