§ Sir Richard Body
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his Department's position towards a European Union universal service in telecommunications. 
§ Mrs. Roche
The draft EC directive on the application of open network provision to voice telephony and on universal service for telecommunications is scheduled to come into force on I January 1998. The directive defines 97W universal service as a defined minimum set of services of specified quality which is available to all users independent of their geographical location and, in the light of specific national conditions, at an affordable price. The Government are keen to ensure that EC universal service obligations guarantee consumers a good quality service at an affordable price, whilst not imposing unreasonable burdens on new entrants to the EC telecommunications market.