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Europe Nears Telecom Reform

11:20 AM -- After months of negotiations and speed bumps, an agreement on a telecom reform package for the European Union's 27 member states looks to have been reached.

According to various reports, including this update and overview from EurActiv, the three main institutions at the center of the reform talks -- the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Europe's Council of Ministers -- have struck a deal.

The agreement includes the creation of a central, EU-funded agency called the BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications), which will comprise up to 25 officials from EU member states. It also gives the European Commission the power to legally enforce its recommendations on individual member states.

The European Commission and the BEREC, it appears, will be able to veto national decisions, but only if both parties are in agreement.

The agreement is much needed, as it will create greater certainty for national regulators, especially regarding the future of next-generation access networks. Early indications are that fiber access network builders will be obliged to share their access networks, but be paid a premium fee by alternative service providers to help cover the up-front investments.

With a compromise thrashed out, it is hoped the new reforms will be ratified by a full sitting of the European Parliament as soon as May.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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