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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New Electronic Communications Act comes into force today

LJUBLJANA – A new Electronic Communications Act comes into force today. The act was adopted by the National Assembly on 20 December 2012 and published in the Official Journal on 31 December 2012. It transposes the revised European Union (EU) electronic communications framework into national legislation.

The EU telecoms rules transposed into the new Electronic Communications Act include:
  • Directive 2009/140/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 amending Directives 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services, 2002/19/EC on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities, and 2002/20/EC on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services;
  • Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services, Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws;
  • Directive 2002/77/EC of 16 September 2002 on competition in the markets for electronic communications services;
  • Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC.

Slovenia failed to transpose the EU telecoms rules into national legislation within the prescribed period expiring on 25 May 2011. The European Commission referred Slovenia to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fully transpose the rules (C-407/12C-406/12). It requested the Court to impose a daily penalty payment of €13 063,68 to be paid from the date of the judgment until the transposition is completed. 

The new act puts into force new net neutrality provisions, which have been strongly criticised by the telecommunications industry and its consultants. In the second reading in the National Assembly the provisions were slightly changed in favour of the industry. The strongest proponent of the net neutrality provisions has been the Slovenian Electronic Communications Councils. It has warned that the provisions were not clear enough and could be subject to subsequent interpretation, very likely in courts. In the short term, the net neutrality provisions will not have any significant impact.

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