The Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM) published a new consultation on a draft regulation relating to the resolution of disputes between electronic communication operators.

The draft regulation subject to consultation is intended to revise the previous regulation adopted with the resolution 352/08/CONS.

Interested operators will have to submit their observations within October 1, 2014.

The following are some of the main changes that AGCOM is wishing to incorporate in the regulation currently in force:

  • Scope of application: the new regulation includes disputes between undertakings providing electronic communication networks or services as well as subjects required to provide access to infrastructures based on optical fiber.
  • Ne bis in idem: while under the current regulation the dispute before the authority is stopped if one of the parties commences an action before ordinary courts, under the new regulation the authority can still rule on some issues of particular importance in case the action before the ordinary courts is commenced by the defendant.
  • Lack of jurisdiction and lack of merit of the action: the action can be declared inadmissible on grounds of lack of jurisdiction of the authority or obvious lack of merit of the action.
  • Urgent measures: while under the current regulation urgent measures can be required when the prejudice is of an economic nature, under the new draft the prejudice may also be based on other grounds
  • Duration: each dispute must be defined within 4 months from the submission of the application, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Settlement: at the first hearing the authority is required to attempt to settle the dispute proposing one or more possible solutions. The party that has refused the settlement conditions proposed by the authority can be charged with the expenses of the proceedings, if the content of the final decision corresponds to the settlement conditions proposed by the authority.