France fights EU telecom bill provision

France is fighting a European Union (E.U.) telecommunications bill that would undermine a French law to cut off Internet service to illegal downloaders.

The E.U. bill would create a new telecommunications regulator in Europe, enable regulators to separate dominant phone companies from their networks, and increase spectrum coordination.

However, the bill prohibits France's proposal to allow a government agency to cut off the Internet service of E.U. citizens. Under the French plan, citizens accused of illegal downloading three times in 12 months would get their service shut down.

Representatives of French President Nicolas Sarkozy have spent the last week trying to get a clause out of the final bill that would require E.U. governments to obtain court orders before pulling the plug on Internet service.

France's battle to get the bill modified is holding up passage, irking some EU lawmakers, but the modifications are getting support from Italy, Sweden and Britain. The latter countries oppose E.U. restrictions on domestic copyright law.

For more:
- NY Times reports on EU telecom action. Article.

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