© APA / dpa / Sina Schuldt / Sina Schuldt
The federal government approved the long-planned amendment on Wednesday Telekomgesetz (TKG) decided. Actually, the adaptation of the law should have been implemented in Austria last year, because the EU has set a corresponding deadline to adapt the legal framework. Now it actually happened on Wednesday in the National Council: There is a new legal framework.
“The previous telecommunications law dates from the year 2003, one still worked with dial-up modems, ICQ and antiquated cell phones. Each SMS cost extra and there was no talk of fiber optic expansion or 5G. It is high time we passed a modern telecommunications law that meets today’s requirements, ”says Elisabeth Köstinger, the responsible minister on Wednesday.
The most important 6 points at a glance:
1. Text-based emergency number 112 for people with special needs
In the future, the emergency number 112 will also offer the option of a text-based emergency call. Restricted end users are therefore treated the same as other end users in the area of access to the emergency number 112.
2. Pan-European innovations in emergency calls and disaster warning systems
A Europe-wide uniform public warning system for crises is coming. The population warning system is to be standardized. The technology behind it is called “Cell Broadcast”. A simple mobile phone without smartphone functions is sufficient to receive the warning. It is completely sufficient if the cell phone is connected to the cellular network.
3. Conclusion of contracts with a summary
In the future, each customer will receive a compact summary of the contract with the essential obligations between operator and consumer when concluding the contract. There is also extended termination options for mobile phone contracts. Previously, a period of notice of one month was provided for price increases; this will be extended in the future 3 months stretched.
4. Right of termination for landline internet contracts
Improvements are also made for consumers when they change their place of residence: Here comes a right of termination for landline internet contracts with a notice period of 2 months. Long-term contracts can thus be terminated more quickly when moving.
5. Faster cellular network and broadband expansion
The package should also accelerate the expansion of Broadband and cellular networks. For example, a simplification of cooperation between operators and co-investments in the area of network expansion is planned under competition law. This is intended, for example, to facilitate the shared use of transmission masts. This also aims to reduce the number of masts and to make infrastructure expansion more attractive in more remote areas. Köstinger also referred to the government’s goal nationwide coverage by 2030 to create fixed and mobile gigabit-enabled connections and to expand 5G coverage.
6. Network security with a monitoring system
The amendment also contains a monitoring system for any high-risk suppliers when setting up 5G networks. This could affect providers such as Huawei. A perception report on any high-risk suppliers is to be drawn up every two years by a new advisory board at RTR. However, this does not happen voluntarily: This is part of the implementation of the 5G toolbox that the European Commission expects from all member states.
Reactions from the industry
ISPA (Internet Service Provider Austria)
With the new TKG, the necessary legal framework will be created in order to advance the broadband expansion in the next few years. At the same time, however, Harald Kapper, President of ISPA, warns that the changes that have also been adopted regarding competition regulation could have a lasting negative effect on the market. “The new provisions in the area of competition regulation allow the dominant company A1 Telekom to steal itself from the existing regulatory requirements through private agreements,” explains Kapper. “We therefore appeal to the regulatory authority to proceed with the utmost caution when applying these provisions in order to prevent a lasting disruption of the market to the detriment of the many alternative providers on the Austrian market.”
“Unfortunately, the government has not been able to bring about any significant changes on the subject of router freedom. In order to offer users freedom of choice, the so-called network termination point should always be the junction box on the wall and only deviated from it in special cases You are allowed to set the network termination point, but when the Internet comes over the cable, the procedure for this has even become more complicated than in the assessment draft. “
Internet offensive Austria
The industry association of the country’s leading ICT companies such as A1, Drei or Magenta, the Austrian Internet Offensive, is pleased with the adoption of the new telecommunications law. This gives the infrastructure providers “a long-awaited, contemporary legal framework for the 5G expansion”. The three vice presidents, who are also CEOs of the three largest telecommunications companies in Austria, see the new framework as “an important step towards realizing the 5G opportunities for Austria in a timely manner”.
Association of alternative telecommunications network operators (VAT)
“Even if we would have liked to have made the expansion of high-speed networks easier, we are happy that the new TKG 2021 finally forms the basis for the long-awaited funding guidelines for broadband funding BBA2030,” says VAT President Markus Fellhofer (Energie AG Telekom ) in a first reaction.