Viviane Reding's regulatory watchdog reign ends

For any European service provider the mere mention of the EU's telecom watchdog Viviane Reding brought chills down their spine. However, the Reding reign has now come to an end as it was announced on Friday that she will step down from her current post as Information Society Commissioner to now oversee Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship as well as become a VP of the European Commission. In her new role, Reding will be charged with realigning the European Union's data protection laws.

Reding's departure does not mean that European service providers are going to get an easy regulatory ride. Taking over Reding's post is the ever-tough Dutch politician Neelie Kroes. Best known for grilling companies such as Microsoft and Oracle on regulatory issues as the Competition Commissioner, Kroes will take up her new role as Digital Agenda Commissioner--a position that collapses the roles of Information Society and European Network and Information Security Agency--at the end of January 2010.

Interestingly, these latest appointments come only days after the European Parliament approved the European Union's telecom reform package that aims to foster greater competition and encourage investment in fiber-based broadband services and networks.

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