BRUSSELS HAS PROMISED TO CREATE A UNIFIED SYSTEM FOR EUROPEAN REGULATORS TO MEASURE MOBILE COVERAGE AND CONNECTIVITY AS A KEY PART OF BEREC’S PLANS FOR 2017
The Body of European Regulators on Electronic Communication (BEREC) unveiled plans at its annual meeting to support regulators dealing with the changing telecoms landscape, with a sharp focus on mobile.
Along with its intention to introduce a common position on monitoring mobile coverage, BEREC will also create a report highlighting ways to facilitate mobile coverage in “challenge areas”.
Sebastian Soriano, president of French regulator ARCEP, explained BEREC’S agenda for 2017 in his opening speech.
“When it comes to connectivity, to be honest, nowadays we hear many excuses. Regulators are too bad. Net neutrality rules are too tough. OTTS are competing in an unfair way. Merger control policy is bad, and so forth, and so forth,” he said.
“Excuses, excuses. Let’s talk about solutions. Let’s try to find a way. I think that BEREC can be committed in that, that we really can try to build some pro-investment doctrine. That is already what we are doing in fixed connectivity.
“Next year, in 2017, BEREC will continue its work by carrying out comprehensive assessments of the need to review the common positions relating to ... markets related to broadband and next generation access market. This will be part of our programme.”
Though some regulators, such as the UK’S Ofcom, offer services that highlight coverage areas for consumers and businesses, they rarely give detail on the strength of connection.
It remains to be seen how BEREC will coordinate this as most regulators partner with testing firms, and their methods can vary wildly.
The body of regulators has also promised to organise two workshops in 2017 to look at the regulatory issues set to emerge because of new technologies. The first will look at the growth of the internet of things and the impact it will have on networks. The second will focus on spectrum.
Little information was given about when or where these workshops take place, but it comes as BEREC is being considered to be turned into an agency of the European Commission, rather than its current state as a loose network of regulators.
Berec unveiled its plans for 2017 at the fourth annual stakeholder forum, where it welcomed regulators from across the EU, along with industry CEOS.
These included BT’S Gavin Patterson, KPN’S Eelco Blok and Iliad’s Xavier Niel, who all made speeches about their views on regulation within the EU, and took part in question and answer panels.
One point of interest made by Sharon White, CEO of Ofcom who chaired one of the panels, was the status of UK regulation in the face of Brexit. She was asked her views on BEREC being transformed into an agency of the Commission.
She said that Ofcom will continue to work closely with European regulators even after the UK leaves the European Union following last June’s referendum.
“Obviously BEREC becoming an agency is a proposal. It’s not a decision. I think certainly my perspective in Ofcom that BEREC works very effectively in its current constitution as a network rather than an agency.
“However its status at the end of these discussions, Ofcom will continue to be as involved in Europe as we are today, and that is incredibly crucial because the companies that we regulate operate in Europe or have European ownership. So regardless of the status of BEREC, we will be very involved. I happen to believe personally that it works very well as a network.” is
ARCEP president Sebastian Soriano: Let’s talk about solutions, let’s try to find a way