Universal Service Obligations: Fulfilling New Generations of Services of General Economic Interest

Chapter
Part of the Legal Issues of Services of General Interest book series (LEGAL)

Abstract

This chapter charts the development of universal service obligations (USOs) in the EU liberalisation programme. Davies and Szyszczak see an expanding role for the concept of USOs in the future development of the EU, from a social perspective as well as a commercial perspective. The authors note that whereas a Member State has a wide competence to define a SGEI, this is no longer the case when a USO is found in liberalising legislation. The authors question whether the use of USOs is a temporary device and whether USOs will survive if, and when, there is full market liberalisation of a sector. Their chapter charts the various stages of the evolution of an EU concept of a USO and their analysis concludes that far from the gradual demise of the USO in the liberalisation process, they see the concept changing, evolving and expanding in its role of protecting the consumer–citizen interest in the Internal Market. A second focus of this chapter is to place the consumer–citizen at the heart of the USO. While academics have argued that USOs have a role to play in protecting the vulnerable consumer contributing to the evolution of a social European private law Davies and Szyszczak argue that USOs have a much wider remit in contributing not only to the inclusiveness of EU society but also the effectiveness of the benefits brought by an Internal Market. They argue that by placing the consumer–citizen of EU law at the heart of a complex web of networked relationships several new issues emerge of governance of the processes and outcomes through which consumer, competition and integration issues are mediated.

Keywords

Member State Universal Service Telecom Sector Service Obligation Terminal Equipment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LawSchool of Social Sciences, The University of NorthamptonNorthamptonUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterLondonUK

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