New Telecoms Rules Aim to Benefit EU Citizens, BusinessesBulgaria in EU | May 25, 2011, Wednesday // 08:15| views
European Commission vice-President in charge of the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. Photo by EPA/BGNES
New rules designed to offer improved broadband, landline and mobile phone services to consumers come into effect on May 25.
They include the right for customers to switch telecoms operators in just one day without changing their phone number, the right to more clarity about the services customers are offered and better protection of personal data online.
The new rules provide for a maximum length of 24 months for customer's initial sign-on contracts and an obligation on operators to offer 12 month contracts to allow customers to switch more easily to a different operator if they find a better deal.
They also set out stricter privacy rules, for instance requiring more disclosure on cookies, small files that track users' movements online.
The European Union's executive says it expects fewer than one-third of the bloc's member states to have adopted new telecommunications rules that give more rights to consumers by a Wednesday deadline.
The Commission has warned it will consider launching infringement proceedings against member states which have not implemented them in time.
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, said:
"Citizens and businesses should take full advantage of the opportunities these new rules give them to get more competitive telecoms services.
"I will do my utmost to help them to do so. If these rights are not made available in practice, I will take the measures necessary to fix that situation vis-a-vis member states and telecoms operators."
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