Presentation on theme: "REVIEW OF EU LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION UK WORKSHOP(DTI/OFTEL) 4TH FEB 2000 Bob Twitchin CHAIRMAN, OFTEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON."— Presentation transcript:
REVIEW OF EU LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION UK WORKSHOP(DTI/OFTEL) 4TH FEB 2000 Bob Twitchin CHAIRMAN, OFTEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS FOR DISABLED AND ELDERLY PEOPLE (DIEL)
Key Points for Access We should not make assumptions about which communications services are necessary for disabled and elderly people. Full range of Access issues should be thought through and designed in from start, not added piece meal.
Objective Environment in which disabled people throughout the EU will, like others, benefit from accessible, affordable communications and services. What part should EU Framework play in this? What is needed in the Framework to achieve this?
Basic Principles: Deregulation is inevitable. For most users competition leads to greater choices and benefits. BUT that is not the case for users with additional requirements for access and services from the operators. Therefore they need a stricter regulatory regime.
TWO STRANDS The needs of many disabled and elderly consumers could be incorporated in main stream provision - “Design for All” Some require specialised equipment and services: greater regulation eg deafblind users, text users. Terminal equipment vital, need end to end regulation.
Limits of Competition Experience of last 16 years –Most have benefited –Some excluded –Regulation to reduce exclusion: USO Future Environment –information provision via communications Legislative Obligation Essential
Legislative Obligation Needed Digital mobile/cordless phones cause hearing aid interference. Payphone handset introduced incompatible with existing text phone couplers. EU excluding UK rule that switchboards be adaptable for blind operators. Text phone users unable to benefit from mobile communications. Old payphone kiosks reintroduced.
END TO END ACCESS Access to communications must include appropriate terminal equipment. Current EU split of telecoms services from terminal equipment a significant barrier to improving access for dps. Framework must include obligation on the industry to provide end to end communication/delivery of service.
Thus... Many people involved -1 in 4 disabled or friend/relative of disabled person [Employers’ Forum on Disability]. If access requirements tackled across EU, economies of scale will reduce additional unit costs of provision.
Making Services Useable VISUAL INFORMATION IN AUDIBLE FORM. ENHANCED VISUALS FOR LOW VISION USERS. MOVING TEXT IN STATIC MODE. AUDIBLE INFORMATION IN VISUAL AND TACTILE FORM. INCREASED AMPLIFICATION FOR HOH. MINIMIZE VISUAL FLICKER - EPILEPSY. CONNECTOR FOR HEADPHONES. REDUCED INTERFERENCE WITH HEARING AIDS. COUPLING FOR HEARING AIDS.
Compatibility with special terminal equipment Port for operation by electronic text input Connection for external audio processor Text phone connectability. Ability to mix speech and text. Text phone compatibility. Products should support use of text phones.
Access to Customer Services The ability to communicate directly with operators and service providers. Information about billing etc. in an appropriate format. Accessible complaints procedure.
WHAT CAN DISABLED AND ELDERLY CONSUMERS EXPECT FROM SINGLE MARKET? Balance between competition and consumer protection No effective Market in many cases What can be left to the market and what requires regulation? Need wide-ranging, effective but not restrictive regime Shifting the Balance Imagination- “Access Policy” Document
THE SOCIAL DIMENSION Anti Discrimination Legislation? And/or Consumer legislation plus enlightened attitudes and practices Universal Service Obligation? Restrictive and Inflexible? Limited in scope
Universal Service Regular review, include now: –Mobile communications –Internet, broadcast, interactive services. Operators with significant market share. Universal Service Fund to meet additional access costs - deaf/blind, and services such as text-speech?
The role of the EU The Communications Group of NRAs and the Communications Committee should have a remit to promote the interests of elderly and disabled consumers and establish/resource appropriate advisory bodies. EU research programmes should take account of the requirements of disabled and elderly consumers. The EU should actively encourage the spread of best practice.
Improving Services Global Market - working with others and learning from their experience Convergence - Alternative delivery Development of new products Government commitment Consult with disabled & elderly people
Four Key Areas Access to telecoms essential for social inclusion. Availability of terminal equipment and services, without cost penalties. Making the single market work for disabled & elderly people. Competition depends on informed, confident consumers.
EU LEGISLATION SHOULD: Establish End to End Access Dynamic concept of Universal Service: –Accessible, affordable essential services –Funding additional costs of access –Applied to significant operators Standards to support Access Compatibility across EU - 1 Market
EU LEGISLATION SHOULD NOT: Impose barriers to what Member States might want to do at national level to promote the interests of disadvantaged, disabled and elderly people.