Saturday, 24 December 2011

EU electronic communications: BEREC medium term strategy consultation

In the introduction to the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), I mentioned that BEREC has announced a public consultation, which runs until 16 January 2012.

Board of Regulators

The latest meeting of the Board of Regulators (BoR) took place 8 to 9 December 2011 in Bucharest (Romania).

According to the conclusions the BoR held an extensive discussion on the draft medium term strategy and decided to publish it for consultation. The draft:

Draft BEREC medium term strategy outlook; 14 December 2011 BoR (11) 58 (7 pages)

Medium term strategy

In order to achieve a multi-annual perspective, BEREC is elaborating strategic goals and promises to present a document outlining its midterm strategy in the course of 2012.

According to the BEREC announcement the public consultation runs until 16 January 2012. The draft strategy document outlines the activities of this advisory body for the next 3 to 5 years.

Internal market for electronic communications

In the draft, BEREC starts by setting out its role in general terms as a contributor to the Digital Agenda, before going into detail (page 2):

BEREC’s task is to promote the consistent application of the regulatory framework and thereby contribute to the development of the internal market for electronic communications. In doing so, BEREC aims to play its part in the promotion of growth and innovation in the EU. BEREC can also provide considerable expertise and professional advice on European policy initiatives and related debates in the electronic communications sector.

Emphasis on the digital single market is added through the announcement of the main focus (page 3):

The main focus of BEREC in the medium term will be on its contribution to the realisation of the internal market. The contributions in this area, both upon request from the EU institutions and on its own initiative, will include in particular:

a. Adopting common regulatory approaches and best practices in areas where differences impede the internal market, and monitoring conformity with those approaches thereafter.

b. Issuing robust and respected opinions on Article 7 cases. [Footnote 1 adds the explanation: Article 7 and article 7a of the amended Framework Directive describe the process in case an NRA takes a market analysis decision. That NRA has to notify its draft decision to the Commission and to BEREC. Both BEREC and the Commission can then provide the NRA with advice. If, in a later stage, a final decision is notified, the Commission may have serious doubts regarding the decision. In such a case, the Commission has to ask BEREC for advice. The Commission has to take the utmost account of that advice.]

c. Advising the EU institutions on draft legislation and regulation.


After describing some trends in infrastructure and services and among consumers (page 3-4), the BEREC draft discusses the following core or priority issues for the coming years (page 4-5):

1. Infrastructural developments: Next generation networks
2. Consumer empowerment: boosting consumer choice and protection
3. Service related developments

The BEREC draft then turns to the quality of its output, by describing its level of ambition regarding common positions, guidelines, the sharing of best practices, information and experiences between NRAs, the monitoring and benchmarking exercises, as well as Article 7/7a procedures related to the Framework Directive (see above) (page 6).

The last page mentions the need for efficiency during times of budget austerity for the NRAs.


In this first draft strategy BEREC has placed a few signposts outlining main goals and principles for the longer term. For those interested, it offers an introduction to the activities of BEREC.

In the midst of budget consolidation and weakening growth prospects, the European Council has repeatedly called for the establishment of a European digital single market as a means to engender economic growth and job creation. BEREC and the NRAs are in a strategic position between European level aims and the reality of national level regulation.

The stakeholders – including telecommunications enterprises, online service providers and content creators - now have the opportunity to contribute to the final version, although the annual Work Programmes can be expected to remain the main source for plans in the short term.


I wish the readers of my blogs, as well as my Facebook and Twitter friends, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012!

Ralf Grahn