Purpose – This study aims to, in the light of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) objective to provide “broadband for all”, investigate how the DAE can make use of universal service as a regulatory instrument created specifically to ensure a minimum of available and affordable electronic communications services within a competitive market. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses systematic and comparative legal analyses of the European Union (EU)’s universal service rules and contrasts them with Information Society policy measures. Findings – There are strong commonalities between the DAE and universal service on the level of objectives. However, due to heavy reliance on the measures stimulating supply-side, there are discrepancies in the mechanisms of their achievement. At the same time, an effective use of universal service instrument by the DAE is not reasonable. In its current form, universal service does not correspond to the substantive requirements of the Information Society policy and needs to be reformed. The paper calls for additional empirical and theoretical research on the role and form of universal service in the Information Society and outlines main issues for further research. Originality/value – The paper uses the perspective of the EU Information Society policy to undertake a legal analysis of the current universal service regulation. Against this backdrop, it points out obsolescence of individual elements of the scope and logical deficiencies of the review mechanism.
info – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 2, 2014