UK Government shares ‘no deal’ Brexit plans for telecomsSarah Shepherd
Government today published a series of technical notices that will apply to services and industries in the event of a no deal EU exit for the UK, although Secretary of State Dominic Raab has stressed the hopes and intention that a positive deal will be achieved.
The contingency plan for the telecoms industry includes:
* Guidelines on the transposition of the approved, but as yet unadopted, new rules for the telecoms sector – the European Electronic Communications Code – which the Government is ‘minded’ to implement the ‘substantive provisions’ into UK law, along the same 2 year timetable as the rest of Europe.
* Other existing rules governing the telecoms sector would continue to apply subject to the slight modifications that the withdrawal process would require – deal or no deal, including those applicable to Ofcom.
* Cross-border services offered by UK operators, and their operation within the EU itself, would be governed by the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services.
Mobile roaming charges, currently capped under EU regulations, would no longer be subject to surcharge-free roaming rates. In the event of a deal, this capped rate would continue to apply during the Implementation Period.
In a no deal situation however, the UK government intends to legislate so as to ensure that mobile operators continue to offer a capping of mobile data usage whilst abroad and transparency measures are offered by UK operators. As the offering of surcharge free roaming is based on commercial arrangements, the continuation of the ‘Roam like at home’ would depend on deals reached between UK and EU operators. In essence, whilst UK consumers may – or might not – see a roaming price on their bills, UK operators may still have to bear the cost of roaming in a way which they currently don’t.
For Media Services Providers, currently subject to the requirements of the (currently under revision) Audiovisual Media Services Directive, will continue to be party to the Council of Europe Convention of Transfrontier Television (ECTT) which provides that signatories (including the UK since 1993) continue to apply the AVMSD rules in their mutual relations. The 20 other EU countries who have also signed up to the ECTT would therefore have to permit freedom of reception to services under UK jurisdiction, and vice versa for the UK for those signatories of the Convention.
Local implementation may however vary across the EU member states, the enforcement mechanism is more limited and additional licenses may be required.