This book explores the relationship between interconnection regulation within the European Union's framework for electronic communications and principles of contract law. The European Union has achieved considerable progress in further opening up electronic communications markets and continues to monitor market behaviour. A review of the new regulatory framework (2002) that was implemented into the Member States' law is expected for 2006. The emphasis of regulation continues to lie on the application of competition law and sector-specific regulation especially to control significant market power.
This book discusses the EC regulatory framework for access and interconnection and posits that the time has come for the European Union to also pay serious attention to contract law issues surrounding access and interconnection.
Even if the emphasis continues to be on asymmetric regulation, positive network effects should lead to more reliance on operators' and service providers' capabilities to successfully negotiate interconnection agreements without regulatory intervention.
The duty to negotiate interconnection is discussed especially in light of contract law practice; whereas the effectiveness and sustainability of intervention in significant market power is discussed as well.
The national regulatory authority's interference with the reference interconnection offer is explored. Disputes that arose as regards the formation and performance of access and interconnection agreements that occurred in the Netherlands over 1997-2005 are also discussed. The remedies that have been applied are to some extent compared with available remedies under contract law.
The analysis provided hopes to offer a new approach to the question whether freely negotiated interconnection agreements are to be preferred over commercial negotiations under a regulatory framework.