The now updated General Law on Telecommunications also includes a 2-year limit on contract length and requires operators to port customers mobile numbers within one working day
Spain has definitively approved updates to its General Law on Telecommunications, finally bringing it in line with the requirements of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), over a year and a half after the 2021 deadline.
To recap, the EECC, agreed back in 2018, called on all EU nations to codify into law various measures that would create a singular regulatory framework and provide better protection for internet users throughout Europe. In line with the EU’s connectivity targets for 2030, these measures included ensuring that 5G spectrum was made available to operators by the end of 2020; simplifying regulations surrounding fibre network rollout to thereby increase investment; and better protecting customers, including ensuring universal access to the internet, better security, and more transparent tariffs.
The 2020 deadline came and went, with numerous countries throughout the union, including Spain, were still dragging their feet when it came to updating their legislation. In fact, such changes had still not taken place by April 2022, when the EU Commission referred ten member states (Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden) to the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose the EECC requirements into law.
Now, Spain is finally making the requisite changes to its legal framework, last week approving an update to the General Law on Telecommunications. This is the first update of the legislature since it was first introduced back in 2014. It now includes 114 articles and 30 additional provisions, covering everything from the right of access of operators to networks and associated resources to how telcos are taxed.
Perhaps the most significant pledge contained within the new law, however, relates to the availability of internet speed across the nation. The law now mandates that every Spanish citizen has access to internet speeds of over 100Mbps within a year of the law being ratified.
This goal appears to come directly from the ‘Spain Digital 2025’ programme, set out by the government back in 2020, with the process having been accelerated by the EU-funded Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
Spain is currently one of the most fiberised nations in Europe, but fibre-to-the-home networks capable of achieving 100Mbps speeds still only extend to around 87% of the country’s population.
Expanding this figure to 100% in just a year – even when capitalising on alternative technologies like fixed wireless access – appears to be a very tall order and will require the operators to redouble their areas to deliver high-quality connectivity to rural Spain.
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