Efforts to overhaul telecom regulation throughout the European Union (EU) progressed Monday as two European Parliament (EP) committees approved amendments to the European Commission’s (EC’s) proposed reform package that would create a Europe-wide telecom regulator and that, among other things, would also mandate “functional separation” of incumbent carriers. The EP is scheduled to vote September 3 on the reform package, which has been championed by EC Media and Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding as a means of unifying Europe’s telecom market and of boosting competitive opportunities throughout the EU. Modeled after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the EU-wide telecom regulator proposed by the EC would hold wide-ranging powers over competition and network security issues, and the EC would hold veto power over decisions made by that entity. Under amendments approved by the EP’s industry and internal market committees, each of the EU’s 27 national regulatory authorities would combine under the Body of European Regulators in Telecommunications (BERT) to govern telecommunications providers throughout the EU. While the EC would retain a consultative role, however, the EC would not hold veto power over BERT. Committee members also voted in favor of EC proposals that recommend functional separation, but with the added caveat that functional separation be enforced “only if both the [EC] and BERT confirm that no other measure has achieved effective competition and that, without the remedy, there is little prospect of future infrastructure-based competition.” While predicting that the amended functional separation provision “will enable national regulators to address cases of persistent bottlenecks,” Reding voiced dismay with BERT’s proposed structure, as she admitted doubts as to “whether BERT . . . will be able to deliver coherent regulatory responses to the regulatory obstacles still far too present in Europe’s single telecom market.”