Pekka Tarjanne, director general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), told 'Newswire' yesterday that the communications industry should beware of calls for a pan-European regulatory body.
Throwing cold water on a call for such an authority by the EC's telecomms commissioner, Martin Bangemann, Tarjanne said the industry should not rush to set up new regulatory bodies on top of existing ones, as it risked creating an unwieldy and inflexible unit.
Bangemann, speaking at last week?s ITU Interactive 97 show in Geneva, said he wanted to establish a pan-European regulatory authority for the converging IT and telecomms markets. Bangemann said such a super-regulator would address the policy issues surrounding telecomms, the Internet and multimedia.
But Tarjanne said: ?I think any setting up of a new level of bureaucracy or new mechanism for regulation and standardisation should be done very carefully or not until there is a real need for it.?
He said he did agree with the sentiments of Bangemann?s speech, which called for greater cooperation between the different regions' authorities and sharing of best practice and experience. For example, other nations could learn much from the UK?s early move into deregulation, he commented.
?For the time being I?m in favour of the system we have already, where there are national regulators, and every state has its own system,? he said.
On a national level Tarjanne does agree there could be a single regulator overseeing both telecomms and broadcast content - as the UK government has suggested - and possibly with general consumer rights added to the remit. But he pointed out that different countries are at different stages with convergence and that should be taken into account.
?We have to be very careful not to build up [additional] regional or international regulators until they are a must, or if there are real problems. Until then we can live with good exchange of information between the different nations,? he concluded.
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