Sunday, 25 December 2011

BEREC draft Work Programme 2012 consultation procedure

After the public consultation from 6 October to 4 November 2011, including an oral hearing 21 October, BEREC published a report on the public consultation. The fifteen stakeholder contributions are available in full on the BEREC page for public consultations.

The consultation summary:

BEREC report on the consultation of the BEREC draft Work Programme 2012 BoR (11) 61 (9 December 2011; 15 pages)

In this blog post I present the basic procedural aspects, before I look at the ”interested parties”.


Transparency

The BEREC Regulation 1211/2009, published two years ago, is available in 23 official EU languages; the English version:

REGULATION (EC) No 1211/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 25 November 2009 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Office (Text with EEA relevance); OJEU 18.12.2009 L 337/1

With regard to transparency, Article 17, in Chapter IV General Provisions, lays down a general rule on consultation, subject to confidentiality (Article 20) and further to the rules on public access to documents (Article 22):

Article 17
Consultation

Where appropriate, BEREC shall, before adopting opinions, regulatory best practice or reports, consult interested parties and give them the opportunity to comment within a reasonable period. BEREC shall, without prejudice to Article 20, make the results of the consultation procedure publicly available.

The annual work programme is specifically mentioned as requiring consultation ahead of adoption, in Article 5(4) about the tasks of the Board of Regulators:

4. The Board of Regulators shall, after consulting interested parties in accordance with Article 17, adopt the annual work programme of BEREC before the end of each year preceding that to which the work programme relates. The Board of Regulators shall transmit the annual work programme to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission as soon as it is adopted.

By publishing the draft, the consultation announcement, the contributions, the consultation summary and the final Work Programme 2012, BEREC acted in accordance with the principles on transparency. (A minor detail: The calls for contributions could further identify the document in question by adding the number to the name as well as by linking.)


Interested parties

During this consultation regarding future activities BEREC received contributions from fifteen stakeholders interested enough to want to influence electronic communications policies at the European level (summary page 2, consultations web page): EIDQ Association – the Association for the Directory Information and Related Search Industry, FTTH Council of Europe, The Number – Directory provider, The Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition Europe, Virgin Media, Telekom Austria, Telecom Italia, Belgacom, INTUG – International Telecommunications Users Group, ECTA, Cable Europe, Bundesverband Breitbandkommunikation, ETNO, Phone Ability and SFR.

In comparison, on a more concrete issue, the public consultation on draft guidelines on Transparency in the scope of Net Neutrality received 77 contributions (report BoR (11) 66).

On the other hand, some public consultations have received far fewer comments than the draft Work Programme 2012.

Participation is still way below the true numbers of participants in market and regulation activities. My impression is that the public and private players in the European electronic communications markets have not yet fully discovered BEREC as a new hinge between Digital Agenda aims at the European level and (converging) regulatory activity at the national level.



Ralf Grahn