The European Commission announced today that it is to close an inquiry into leased lines, following price decreases of up to 40pc in member states.
In a statement, the Commission said that it had closed its inquiry into the telecoms sector’s pricing of leased lines, due to a significant drop in prices since the inquiry’s launch in July 1999. In its initial findings, the Commission pointed to high prices and diverging pricing policies across member states, which could not be justified by differences in cost. Three years later, the sector inquiry produced a significant decrease in the price for international telecom leased lines across the EU. Subsequent to the sector inquiry’s launch on 27 July, 1999, the price for 2Mbps leased lines, the most commonly used bandwidth, has decreased by on average 30pc to 40pc.
Leased lines, the Commission said, are a very important component of the liberalised telecommunications environment. They provide a vital link between businesses that wish to have a direct and high bandwidth connection.
The Commission hopes that lower prices for leased lines will give consumer cheaper access to telecommunications services and the internet, as envisaged by the e-Europe initiative. Lower prices for access should also provide a competitive edge to businesses across Europe.
It also noted that the inquiry had led to a proactive stance of the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) with respect to both pricing and providing of leased lines. The NRAs, it said, had adopted a number of measures, such as wholesale offers to competitors, which enhance and maintain competition at the retail level.
By Dick O’Brien
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