Europe may regulate the digital divide

Sweeping new rules could extend universal service obligations to the Internet

Universal service obligations could be extended to the Internet according to the representative of Deutsche Telekom at a public hearing Wednesday on the future of telecom rules in Europe.

Universal service obligations currently extend only to voice calls. Under watchdog rules incumbent operators such as BT (quote: BT), for example, are obliged to provide voice services across the whole of the UK. But sweeping new regulation currently under discussion at the European Commission could see this extended to the Internet.

DT and industry experts believe this is unworkable, but it could sit well with the government's determination to wire the UK and prevent the development of a digital divide.

More details to follow

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