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Amendment of EU Universal Service Directive: Luca Coscioni Association submits position paper to EP and European Commission

03/20/2008

The Luca Coscioni Association sent to the EP and to the European Commission a position paper concerning the amendment of the so called “Telecoms package�?, in particular of the Universal Service Directive.

The Luca Coscioni Association kindly requested to Hon. Alvaro Alexander (PE, ALDE) and to Mr. Paul Timmers (European Commission, Head of DG Unit “ICT for Inclusion�?) to take into account such position during next forecasted stages up to formal approval of the directive foreseen by July 2008. The position paper refers to a proposal of amendment of the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council that you can find on the following web site: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/file.jsp?id=5563642. According to the position paper, the European Union should enhance its commitment towards disabled users according to the position paper as follows. In particular: •Subtitling of at least public service programs, including news and political information programs; •Provide a broadband territorial coverage; •SMS and video calls for free or at a cost price (partial exemption) for deaf people and people with serious disabilities (for more informations about these services you can visit the web site: http://www.epractice.eu/cases/freephoneservices); •Provide a periodic (every six months) invoicing of telecoms services; •Provide relay services for text telephony, relay services for video-telephony and products useful to allow aged or disabled people to join communication, at least in case of emergency calls. Such services should be totally free of charge, but the problem is that these relay services do not guarantee a fully independent living, moreover they are diseconomical and not universally accessible. So, the Luca Coscioni Association, in the last years, has been trying to involve both disable people and ICT industry to bridge knowledge between them, with the aim to exploit new technologies. On March 24, Mr. Paul Timmers sent to the Association the acknowledgment of receipt of the position paper under reference and, mereover, informed us to have passed the proposal on to his colleagues in the eCommunications policy unit.

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