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Spectrum Rules in Europe: the Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework

29 March 2011

Spectrum rules in Europe are set out in the EU Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework, which was heavily amended in December 2009 -- we prepared a "show changes" version that identifies what was added and deleted in the previous version of the framework.


The EU Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework

(Consolidated versions)

The 2002 Directives (originals)

The 2009 Amendments


Directive 2002/21/EC

The “Better Regulation” Directive 2009/140/EC


Directive 2002/19/EC


Directive 2002/20/EC

Universal Service

Directive 2002/22/EC

The “Consumer Rights” Directive 2009/136/EC


Directive 2002/58/EC

Spectrum rules in Europe are set out in the EU Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework, which was heavily amended in December 2009, after years of effort. Shortly after, we prepared an unofficial consolidated version to show what language was added and deleted. The European Commission subsequently also prepared a consolidated version (PDF), which contains a wealth of different legislative instruments but does not, however, identify where the changes were made in the amended framework directives. Thus, we are posting our earlier versions as an aid for industry and practitioners to see where the changes to the framework were made. Each directive as amended is shown in the documents linked in the first column of the table.

The framework is made up of five directives originally adopted in 2002. The package adopted in 2009 consists of two directives, each affecting several directives in the original framework, and one regulation establishing the new European regulatory advisory body named BEREC, for the “Body of European Regulators in Electronic Communications.” It can be difficult to parse through the 2009 amendments, as they show only those parts of the original framework that are changed, and many times substitute an entire sub-paragraph in an article when only a few words are changed.

For spectrum regulation, look in particular at new or heavily amended Articles 8, 8a, 9, 9a and 9b in the Framework Directive.

Our compendium of consolidated directives does not show the recitals (whereas clauses) from each of the two directives adopted in 2009 or the original recitals to the 2002 package. We hasten to add that these recitals are required for a complete interpretation of the entire framework, so for the complete picture you still need to go to the actual directives, which we also link in the table (second and third columns).

In addition to the two amending directives and the BEREC regulation (PDF), the Commission adopted a network neutrality declaration (PDF), which relates to Internet freedom provisions added in new Framework Directive Article 3a. This item was published twice – once on the page following the Better Regulation Directive in the L series of the Official Journal and again on the same day in the C series. We have posted it as a standalone item to complete the package.

A Shared Vision for Spectrum

By Trey Hanbury and Wes Platt

Earlier this month, the U.K. took a small but significant step towards a future in which spectrum is shared rather than reserved for a particular use.  The ...

27 March 2014
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