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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

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