What is BEREC?
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) was established by Regulation (EU) 2018/1971 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018. The new Regulation replaces the previous one - Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 which was part of the Telecom Reform package. It replaced the European Regulators Group for electronic communications networks and services which was established as an advisory group to the Commission in 2002.
The Telecom reform package is replaced by the Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code. It establishes a significant number of new tasks for BEREC such as issuing guidelines on several topics, reporting on technical matters, keeping registers, lists or databases and delivering opinions on internal market procedures for draft national measures on market regulation. Overall, the Code aims to create an internal market for electronic communications within the EU while ensuring a high level of investment, innovation and consumer protection through enhanced competition.
BEREC commenced its activities in January 2010. In the course of 2011 it became fully functional and ready to fulfil all its assignments as required by the current regulatory framework.
“Committed to ensure independent, consistent, high-quality application of the European regulatory framework for electronic communications markets for the benefit of Europe and its citizens.”
BEREC contributes to the development and better functioning of the internal market for electronic communications networks and services. It does so, by aiming to ensure a consistent application of the EU regulatory framework and by aiming to promote an effective internal market in telecoms sector, in order to bring even greater benefits to consumers and businesses alike.
Furthermore, BEREC assists the Commission and the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in implementing the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications. It provides advice on request and on its own initiative to the European institutions and complements at European level the regulatory tasks performed at national level by the NRAs.
The NRAs and the Commission have to take utmost account of any opinion, recommendation, guidelines, advice or regulatory best practice adopted by BEREC.
In 2017 the Board of Regulators adopted BEREC Strategy 2018-2020. It outlines BEREC five strategic priorities:
- Responding to connectivity challenges and to new conditions for access to high-capacity networks;
- Monitoring potential bottlenecks in the distribution of digital services;
- Enabling 5G and promoting innovation in network technologies;
- Fostering a consistent approach of the net neutrality principles;
- Exploring new ways to boost consumer empowerment.
The strategic priorities are based on the market developments and point to particular areas of interest that BEREC should cover under one or several of the strategic objectives in the medium-term. The strategic priorities do not define the full scope of BEREC work for 2018-2020, but will be recurring topics in the Work Programmes for the coming years.
All the above listed strategic priorities are based on the three overarching objectives or strategic pillars of BEREC, as adopted in its Strategy 2015-2017:
1. Promoting competition and investment
This strategic objective outlines BEREC’s role in promoting effective competition, and in so doing promoting efficient investment and innovation in new and enhanced infrastructures and services. Central to this approach is the understanding that effective and sustainable competition is what drives efficient investment and choice for end-users.
2. Promoting the Internal market
This strategic objective outlines BEREC’s role in developing consistent regulatory practices and addressing cross-border issues to enable EU citizens and businesses to enjoy a (high) minimum level of services and benefit from pan-European services wherever they are.
3. Empowering and protecting end-users
This strategic objective outlines BEREC’s role in promoting the interests of EU citizens and protecting the interests of vulnerable end-user groups. It includes a role for BEREC to study demand side aspects of the market, to monitor market evolutions and, to the extent possible, respond to ensure end-users’ continued ability to use the services of their choice, at appropriate levels of price and quality.