IT, Media and Telecommunications Newsletter No. 1/2010

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The Official Journal of the European Union no. L 337 of 18 December 2009 – The reform of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services

The new legislative package includes the review of 5 Directives i.e.: General Framework, Access, Authorisation, Universal Service, E-privacy. Additionally, GSM Directive of 1987 was amended and the Regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) was issued in 2010, which became functional as of the end of January 2010.
The implementation of the legislative package with respect to electronic communications networks and services into the national legislation of all 27 EU Member States must be completed by June 2011.
According to the European Commission, the most important reforms under the new regulations are as follows:
• the end-users right to port a number to a new undertaking shall have the number activated within one working day; so far, an average 8.5 days were necessary in EU for a mobile number to be ported and 7.5 days for a fixed number (in Romania the portability of a telephone number, regardless of the network – fixed or mobile – was achieved in 10 days);
• a better information of the end-users, with respect to the communications services that they wish to purchase (Romania has already regulated it under ANCOM Decision no. 77/2009);
• “protection” of the citizens’ rights with respect to the internet access – a highly controversial provision that actually refers to the possibility of prohibiting the internet access (if it is proved that certain files are illegally downloaded from the internet) based on a court decision;
• new guarantees for the technological neutrality;
• consumer protection against the personal data breach and transmission of spam, by personal data being understood name, email address, bank account, detailed list of the made calls and of the accessed websites;
• access under better conditions to 112 emergency call number – extension of the requirements of access from the classic telephony to the new technologies (such as the internet communications) and the provision under better conditions of the access to the emergency number for the disabled persons;
• ensuring the independence of the national regulatory bodies;
• the establishment of a EU regulatory body (BEREC – Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications), comprised of the representatives of the national regulatory bodies from the 27 Member States;
• offering an increased power to the European Commission in order to supervise the corrective regulatory measures proposed by the national regulatory bodies, such as the conditions of access to the dominant operator’s network or the establishment of the interconnection tariffs;
• functional separation that should determine the resolution of the competition-related problems;
• acceleration of the access to bandwidth communications for all Europeans, which implies the elimination of the rural -urban digital gap, especially by effectively using the radio spectrum (especially the spectrum available following the shift to digital television); additionally, the member states will include in the universal office service the increase in the download speed;
• encouraging competition and investments in NGN (next generation access networks) by maintaining the incentives so that the investments in NGN become profitable for operators.

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 2009 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

BEREC has the simple structure of a council of the regulatory bodies, comprised of the directors of the 27 national regulatory bodies, as well as an observer without any voting right, representing the European Commission.In its capacity as an independent and specialized consultative body, BEREC will deliver opinions and recommendations in order to help the Commission, as well as the European Parliament and Council, upon their request, to effectively and consistently enforce the regulatory framework in the field of electronic communications.Additionally, BEREC will adopt the opinions (e.g. the opinions on cross-border disputes) by a two-thirds majority. Thus, it will contribute to guaranteeing fair competitive conditions for the market players, fair competition and high quality services all over the EU, ensuring that the national regulatory bodies use similar instruments when facing similar market situations.

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