Council green-lights plans for amendments to Telecoms Act

20 Nov 2014

Switzerland’s Federal Council has issued a new telecommunications report, green lighting plans to revise the nation’s Telecommunications Act and highlighting a number of issues for consideration. The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) will be responsible for drafting a suitable bill by the end of next year. A second revision at a future – as yet unspecified – date will tackle any matters on which the department cannot reach a decision.

In its report, the council pointed out that Swiss prices for international roaming in Europe were higher than their competitors in Europe and made recommended changes to regulations covering international roaming. The council rejected capping prices, favouring instead local breakout (LBO), whereby Swiss providers allow their customers to use the offerings of locally-based operators for data services whilst travelling abroad. Meanwhile, the council highlighted the need for improvements in consumer protection, noting that new types of offerings should be brought under the same scope of protections as existing value added services (VAS). In a similar vein, it recommended that telcos be obliged to provide information on youth protection measures, such as content filters to block access to material unsuitable for children.

Elsewhere, the report stressed the need for a ‘broadly drafted right to access passive physical infrastructure such as cable ducts to be enshrined in law’. However, the reported added that: ‘In order not to compromise the current buoyant level of investment in expansion of high-speed broadband in particular, network access rules must initially not be designed in a technology-neutral fashion.’