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Learning English - Words in the News
28 June, 2006 - Published 12:02 GMT
EU telecoms
Viviane Reding

The EU's media commissioner Viviane Reding has called for sweeping changes to the way telecom services within Europe are governed. Speaking at a conference in Brussels, she said there was a need for a new European telecoms regulator to be created to work alongside national authorities. This report from Theo Leggett:

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The past two decades have seen huge changes in the way the telecom sector in Europe operates. Liberalisation has allowed large numbers of new operators into the market to challenge the dominance of former national monopolies.

But the Commission believes that rules designed to promote competition are applied in a haphazard fashion because each member state has its own telecoms regulator. So it's proposing to create a new European regulator to coordinate the work of the national authorities.

It's also planning to set up a central agency to allocate radio spectrum frequencies. Such frequencies can be extremely valuable to companies which provide wireless services such as mobile phone networks or satellite navigation systems. But because they're provided by national authorities in each country, it can prove difficult for those businesses to get access to the spectrum they need.

But analysts say national governments may prove highly reluctant to surrender control of their radio frequencies to Brussels.

Theo Leggett, BBC News, Brussels

Listen to the words

short for telecommunication, i.e. communication over a distance by cable, telegraph, telephone or broadcasting

making more open and free

control, authority, being the most influential

people or companies that have total control of the trade in a commodity or service

to promote
to encourage and support

in a haphazard fashion
in an illogical or disorganised way, by chance

to set up
to establish, to create

radio, capable of transmitting data without being plugged in

not willing, hesitant

hand over, get rid of, give into another's control

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