In addition to BEREC, there is the Independent Regulators Group (IRG) based in Brussels. It was founded in 1997 and is used by its 37 members as a platform for opinion-forming and open discussions. The European Commission is not represented in the IRG. The IRG also organises workshops for junior and senior experts from the regulatory authorities. The aim is to exchange experience and know-how on a wide range of telecommunications regulation issues. IRG and BEREC meetings are held in combination to keep the time and financial effort to a minimum. The IRG is financed by membership fees. RTR makes an annual financial contribution of 13,000 euros.
On request of the Federal Chancellery, RTR represents Austria in the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (WPCISP) at the OECD. This working group is a subcommittee of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy. The mandate of this group includes the following tasks:
- examination of the objectives and strategies in the field of communication infrastructures and services;
- exchange of experiences and best practices;
- the development of indicators and statistical methods;
- analysis of the economic and social consequences of communications markets and technological changes, in particular in the field of the Internet and the convergence of broadcasting, media, telecommunications and telecommunications networks.
The OECD's central task is to develop a common understanding of economic policy measures and to promote international cooperation. The working group's contributions are generally published, for example in the OECD's Digital Economic Outlook, which is published every two years.
Further information on the OECD in the field of the digital economy can be found here.
As a result of the Barcelona Process and the European Neighbourhood Policy, the governments of the participating countries and the European Commission have agreed on a close cooperation with neighbour countries. This also applies to the work of the regulatory authorities in the field of electronic communications in this region. In order to promote reforms and harmonisation in the field of regulation, cooperation with Mediterranean third countries was initiated. These projects are financed by the European Commission. These efforts are showing clear benefits of cooperation between the regulatory authorities of EU Member States and third countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Regulators in the field of electronic communications in the Euro-Mediterranean region are collaborating to establish a network with the aim of promoting exchanges of experience and the organisation of neighbourly cooperation. This is so called Euro-Mediterranean Network of Regulators (EMERG).
The Eastern Partnership (EAP) covers a wide range of regulatory issues related to electronic communications and offers the opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices between EU regulators and partners in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) in order to facilitate the alignment with the European Union.
The security and integrity of networks and services at European level is addressed by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), which has been established in Greece in 2004. ENISA’s tasks include assisting and advising the European Commission and the Member States on network and information security issues, in particular in the development and application of Community legislation as well as in the prevention and management of significant security incidents. On the basis of European legislation, ENISA analyses reports on security incidents in the following sectors: telecommunications, energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructure, health and drinking water supply. ENISA regularly publishes aggregated reports on the security incidents analysed and technical guidelines for authorities and market participants. The security and integrity of networks and services are dealt with mainly in the Article 13a Expert Group, chaired by ENISA, which includes the majority of national telecoms regulators.
The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) is the European Commission's advisory body on radio spectrum policy issues. It supports and advises the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues, the coordination of policy approaches and measures necessary for the establishment of a harmonised European single market. Austria is represented in this committee by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) which is supported by RTR.
The RSPG was established on the basis of a Commission Decision (2002/622/EC). The RSPG members include representatives of the EU Member States, the associated states and the states with candidate status. In addition, representatives of the European Parliament, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) are involved.
The Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC) uses the comitology procedure to support the EU Commission in the development of frequency-related implementation decisions for the harmonised use of spectrum. Austria is represented in the RSC by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) which is supported by RTR.
The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) is an organisation for cooperation between the 48 European member states in the field of postal and telecommunications regulation.
Austria is represented in CEPT by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) and RTR, whereby the telecommunications agendas are anchored in the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC). The following working groups are currently active in the ECC:
- Preparation of the World Radiocommunication Conference (Conference Preparatory Group, CPG)
- Frequency management (Working Group Frequency Management, WG FM)
- Radio compatibility (Working Group Spectrum Engineering, WG SE)
- Numbering (Working Group Numbering and Networks, WG NaN)
RTR is mainly active in the group for numbering issues, sometimes also in frequency matters to support the ministry.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is a non-profit organisation which is recognised by the European Union as a European organisation for standardisation with the aim of developing globally applicable standards for information and communication technologies.
RTR is a member of ETSI and monitors developments in this body that are relevant for regulatory activities.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a specialized United Nations agency that deals with the technical aspects of telecommunications worldwide, subdividing it into the areas of radio, telecommunications and development aid.
Austria is represented in the ITU by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), while RTR follows developments relevant for regulatory activities.
Regulations, directives and decisions at EU level are prepared by Council Working Groups composed of representatives of the EU Member States and covering the entire spectrum of EU activities. These more than 200 working groups work in conjunction with the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper). Depending on requirements, they are set up for a short period or as longer-term committees.
As a rule, the Council Working Groups' deliberations are based on proposals from the Commission, which also take part in the meetings of the Council Working Groups themselves. On the basis of the results of the Council Working Group meetings, the Permanent Representatives Committee prepares the Council meetings. Matters on which agreement can already be reached at Council Working Groups or Coreper level will be submitted to the competent ministers of the Member States for adoption as an "A-item" without further debate.
Upon request, RTR supports the BMVIT mainly in matters relating to the competencies of the regulatory authorities, on the one hand by preparing written statements and on the other hand by attending meetings of the Council Working Group.
Consultations of the European Commission can be found here.
The Roadmap on the WACC initiative can be found here.
The latest news from the Directorate-General Communication Networks, Content and Technologies of the European Commission (DG CONNECT), such as calls for tenders, events or reports, are published here. In the DC CONNECT newsletter you can find additionally information on developments, current events, publications, etc. You can subscribe here.
Information from the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) can be found here.
Decisions of the European Commission as competition authority are published here.
The European Commission launched the consultation "Targeted consultation on guidance on cost of capital for EU electronic communications regulators". Input can be provided until 3 October 2018.
Information on the work of the European Parliament can be found here.
An overview on current legal projects at European level for the “Connected Digital Single Market”, such as the 5G Action Plan, Electronic Communications Code, BEREC or e-Privacy, are published here under the title "legislative train schedule".
The general search function of the European Parliament provides good accessibility to all essential information of parliamentary work.
It can be accessed here and basically distinguishes between the following information sections:
Of particular interest to the electronic communications sector are the committees ITRE, IMCO and LIBE. Some relevant links to the work of the committees can be found below.
ITRE Committee (Industry, Research and Energy)
Further information on the ITRE Committee (e.g. on meetings, documents, events, dossiers etc.) is available here.
In the context of the RTR activities, the following links (without claim to completeness) are currently worth mentioning:
IMCO Committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection)
Further information on the IMCO Committee (e.g. on meetings, documents, events, dossiers etc.) is available here.
In the context of the RTR activities, the following links (without claim to completeness) are currently worth mentioning:
LIBE Committee (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs)
Further information on the LIBE Committee (e.g. on meetings, documents, events, dossiers etc.) is available here.
Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications)
Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on ENISA, the "EU Cybersecurity Agency", and repealing Regulation (EU) 526/2013, and on Information and Communication Technology cybersecurity certification (''Cybersecurity Act'')
More detailed information on the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), which has the task of ensuring that the law is respected in the interpretation and application of the European Treaties, can be found here and decisions are published here.
A small selection of interesting decisions of the Court of Justice
- C-426/05 - Tele2 Telecommunication
In its judgment of 21 February 2008 in Case C-426/05, the Court of Justice ruled that competitors of undertakings which may be subject to specific obligations in a market analysis procedure under Article 16 of Directive 2002/21/EC may also appeal against the decision of the regulatory authority. Further information can be found here.
- C-282/13 - T-Mobile Austria
In Case C-282/13, the Court of Justice again had to deal with the issue of involvement/party status in telecom-regulatory matters. In its judgment of 22 January 2015, the Court of Justice recognised that certain provisions of the Framework Directive were to be interpreted as meaning that "an undertaking may be regarded as a party concerned within the meaning of Directive 2002/21/EC where that undertaking which offers electronic communications networks or services is a competitor of the undertaking or undertakings which has provided or is providing electronic communications networks or services, the party (s) to the procedure for approving the modification of its ownership structure and addressee (s) of the decision of the national regulatory authority, and where that decision is likely to have an impact on the market position of the first-mentioned undertaking". Further information can be found here.
- C-28/15 - Koninklijke KPN NV u. a.
In Case C-28/15, the Court of Justice ruled on 15 September 2002 on the disputed issue of the termination regulation. In 2016, the Court ruled that, in a dispute over the legality of a price obligation imposed by the national regulatory authority for termination of calls on fixed and mobile telephone networks, a national court is only allowed to deviate from the termination recommendation "if it considers this to be appropriate in view of the actual circumstances of the specific case, in particular the specific characteristics of the market in the Member State concerned.“ Further informationcan be found here.
- C-256/05 – Telekom Austria
In Case C-256/05 concerning a reference for a preliminary ruling submitted by the Telekom-Control Commission, the Court of Justice ruled on 6 October 2005 that it was not competent to answer a question referred by the Telekom-Control Commission. The question was asked whether a European Commission decision calling on the Telekom-Control Commission to withdraw a notified draft measure concerning the market for "transit services in the fixed public telephone network" was valid. The Court of Justice's refusal was based on the fact that "there is no action pending before the Telekom-Control Commission", which is why the Telekom-Control Commission cannot submit a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice for an assessment of its validity. Further information can be found here.