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Cheaper, better EU telecoms in sight

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Cheaper, better EU telecoms in sight

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The improvement of telecoms services in the EU has moved closer with a political compromise agreed by the European Union governments.

The reform should offer EU-wide coordination of national regulators, increased competition and more consumer rights.

This leads to further negotiations, aimed at producing a deal before the European Parliament’s mandate expires halfway through next year.

The EU telecoms ministers watered down Commissioner Viviane Reding’s original proposal for a strong regulatory body.

They backed parliament’s rejection of a French move to have Internet service providers cut off subscribers who download copyrighted material.

Plans were approved to cap the cost of text messaging via mobile phone while abroad to 11 euro cents. The EU average today is 29 cents.

Ministers also supported Reding’s proposal for billing of roamed voice calls per second from the 31st second to crack down on operators that charge by the whole minute.