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BEREC underscores the importance of independent national regulators: a prerequisite for functioning competition

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has observed a disquieting trend in recent months, in which national legislation has limited in some cases the independence of regulatory authorities for electronic communications. “This can result in a number of ways, for instance by intervening in the authority’s autonomy or by inordinate cuts in budgets or staff numbers,” said Georg Serentschy, Chairman of BEREC and Managing Director of RTR’s Telecommunications and Postal Services Division, in view of the troubling developments in several EU Member States recently. “Where national regulators are limited in their powers to act, BEREC sees a danger for the ongoing harmonisation efforts within the single European market as well as for functioning competition,” Serentschy added. “BEREC’s goal is therefore to continue to actively observe developments, so as to safeguard authorities’ independence, and to work closely with the European Commission in this regard in order to take any countermeasures at an early stage. In case of violations, the European Commission can, for example, institute infringement proceedings against individual Member States,” Serentschy noted.

BEREC criticises ETNO proposal on IP interconnection regime

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) has prepared a proposal for regulating the Internet, to be laid down in an ITU framework agreement, which specifies an interconnection regime for the Internet. “With its plan for interconnection agreements between operators, ETNO is seeking to put a regulatory halt to the free and dynamic development of the Internet. BEREC considers the ETNO initiative to be an obstacle to future innovation and is worried that it may give rise to welfare losses internationally,” BEREC Chairman Serentschy stated in criticism of the ETNO proposal. “BEREC sees no need to limit the freedom of the Internet and to include any corresponding provisions in guidelines or agreements. The Internet obviously works fabulously well – even without regulatory intervention,” Serentschy emphasised.

The BEREC statements on the independence of European regulatory authorities and on the ETNO proposal may be viewed at this link: http://berec.europa.eu/eng/news_consultations/whats_new/1251-berec-statements-on-the-importance-of-national-regulatory-authorities-independence-and-on-its-opposition-etnos-proposals-for-the-review-of-the-international-telecommunications-regulations-itrs