The European Commission is considering plans to reform how mobile cloud service providers, also know as Over The Top (OTT) companies, are regulated, according to reports from the FT.
Draft documents unveiled by the commission indicate that initiative to create a level playing field between the telecoms industry, cable operators and mobile cloud services like Whatsapp and Skype has long since been forgotten.
According to the Commission, telcos are currently being forced to compete with OTT services “without being subject to the same regulatory regime”, and that it intends to create a “fair and future-proof regulatory environment for all services”.
One of the main directives of the digital single market proposals advocated by the commission relates to the roll-out of superfast broadband infrastructure across the continent. With traditional revenue streams for telcos, such as calls and messaging, on the decline, operators frequently point the finger at OTT services for enabling free and wide-reaching services.
As a consequence, operators claim a lack of incentive when it comes to investing in overhauling increasingly depreciated copper network infrastructure, particularly around the last mile.
That said, telcos remain hesitant to give its competitors free access to high-speed broadband infrastructure if it isn’t able to suitably monetise the service, which is where net neutrality enters the picture. Aside from the ongoing debate raging in the US of late, net neutrality formed one of the cornerstones of Neelie Kroes’ digital single market proposals, along with the abolishment of consumer roaming fees.
Last month, Telecoms.com reported that the European Union’s Telecoms Council effectively conceded that a U-turn on its net neutrality ambitions was on the cards. There has yet to be an update on whether the open-letter signed by more than 100 MEPs has convinced the Council to steer clear of paid prioritisation of any kind.
It is believed the commission intends to unveil its new digital single market strategy on the 6th May.