In November 2007 the EU Commission proposed a number of controversial reforms to telecoms regulation including:

  • a new European "super-regulator" to serve as the Commission's main advisor on regulatory issues. It would also liaise with national regulators; and
  • functional separation i.e. telecommunication operators that own important parts of the network infrastructure would be required to split into two companies. The first would manage the operational business and the second would manage the network infrastructure. (This process has already occurred in the UK with the functional separation of BT).

In January 2008, in its first public hearing on the telecoms review the European Parliament raised significant concerns. The view expressed by the members of the Committee was generally critical of the reforms, regardless of the political affiliation of the MEPs. They all voiced concerns about the economic consequences of functional separation and in particular who would pay the cost of the shift from the current system. Committee members also expressed doubts over the necessity for a new European super-regulator. They considered that rather than assisting harmonisation such a super-regulator would create conflicts of competence with national authorities. The possible merger of the new body with the existing European agency for information security (ENISA) was also questioned.