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Draft BEREC Work Programme 2018

Starting: 06 Oct Ending

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BEREC Work Programme 2018

BEREC BoR (17) 176 

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P1
V02
Author: Savvas Andreadis Berec Office Date: 06 October 2017

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) was established by Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009. According to Article 5 (4) of this Regulation, the BEREC Board of Regulators shall, after consulting interested parties, 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 (EP), the Council and the European Commission (EC) as soon as it is adopted.

BEREC aims to ensure the independent, consistent and high quality application of the European regulatory framework for electronic communications for the benefit of Europe and its citizens. The BEREC Work Programme 2018 is based on the BEREC Medium-Term Strategy 2018-2020 and takes the following five strategic priorities into consideration:

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 Work Programme 2018 mirrors BEREC’s commitment to serve as a body for reflection, debate and advice for the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission in the electronic communications field. Furthermore, BEREC would like to play an important role in further improving the consistent application of regulatory rules, to enhance its working methodology and to engage cooperatively and effectively with stakeholders.

The BEREC Work Programme 2018 was discussed and agreed on at the BEREC Board of Regulators meeting in Bucharest on 5-6 October. In line with the practice of previous years and in accordance with Article 5 of the BEREC Regulation, the BEREC Work Programme is subject to consultation. The public consultation runs from 11 October to 8 November 2017, in order to increase transparency and BEREC would like to invite all stakeholders to an open discussion .

Sébastien Soriano,  ARCEP                         Johannes Gungl , RTR

Chair 2017                                                 Chair 2018

 

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P2

The market for electronic communication is changing rapidly in ways that pose new challenges and questions for regulators in areas such as the end-user experience, competition and investment as well as in how the digital dividend is distributed among consumers and the different players in the digital ecosystem.

These developments have been identified in the BEREC Medium-Term Strategy 2018-2020. Upon those, BEREC formulated five strategic priorities for the upcoming three years which provide the basis for the BEREC Work Programme 2018. In this sense, the Work Programme seeks to address current regulatory challenges, and to prepare for the new challenges ahead resulting from market, technological and social developments.

While BEREC’s Mid-Term-Strategy lists 5 areas of strategic priorities, an important focus for the 2018 Work Programme will be on “5G”: Even though the next generation mobile networks will likely not be operational until 2020, BEREC would nevertheless like to prepare itself proactively for the upcoming challenges in order to support the consistent 5G deployment across the Member States (MS). The challenges that need to be addressed range from work on standards, interoperability and new business models, to network sharing, coverage and security. The Work Programme 2018 will, within the scope of its competence, actively and closely follow the development of 5G.

A further focus of BEREC’s work next year is on consumer empowerment. On the basis of its Mid-Term-Strategy, BEREC aims to play a more active role in assessing and promoting consumer empowerment and consumer protection. In this context, BEREC will, in 2018, analyse the practise of termination of contracts as well as the switching processes, will have a look at similarities of contracts and will evaluate a single European contract information sheet.

Furthermore, BEREC will also continue to contribute to a consistent application of the net neutrality rules, for example by providing a forum for national regulatory authorities (NRAs) to exchange views and experiences on the implementation of the Regulation and by implementing a net neutrality reference measurement system.

Another important topic for BEREC’s 2018 work will still be the Framework Review. BEREC will continue to provide insights and advice to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.

These and other areas BEREC will concentrate on in 2018 will be presented and discussed in more detail in the following sections.

In addition to the list of work-items identified in this Work Programme, BEREC will continue to follow the mandatory and annually repeating work. BEREC anticipates its continuous involvement in Article 7/7a Phase II cases, which will be addressed by delivering relevant Opinions at highest priority and within strict statutory deadlines. BEREC will also consider possible ad hoc requests for advice from the EU institutions (European Commission, Council and European Parliament) and will complete these requests appropriately and on time.

As in previous years, the implementation of the Work Programme 2018 will be undertaken by Expert Working Groups (hereinafter EWGs), comprised of experts from NRAs who participate in BEREC as members or observers. Each EWG addresses a number of topics, analyses the relevant issues and prepares inter alia reports for discussion and adoption by the Board of Regulators (BoR). BEREC believes that this well-established “bottom-up” approach, drawing on and informed by NRAs’ on-the-ground-experience of the imple­men­ta­tion and impact of regulation at the national level, is what makes its outputs particularly rele­vant and valuable. The support of the BEREC Office is of key importance for the success of the BEREC Work Programme 2018. Under the guidance of its Administrative Manager, the BEREC Office provides professional and administrative support services to BEREC and its EWGs.

Finally, BEREC will continue to follow the approach whereby NRAs work together to elaborate Common Positions (CPs), guidelines and best practices and will continue to engage with stakeholders in public consultations, industry forums and by making more and easier accessible information available (e.g. by implementing an open data platform).


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P3

Very high-capacity networks have become central for end-users to enable them to enjoy the full potential of the digital ecosystem and access to some non-replicable elements is important to promote and protect competition, but the variance in the deployment of high-speed networks has led to different market conditions across Europe. The BEREC Medium-term Strategy 2018-2020 includes as a strategic priority the continuation of its work on identifying competition problems that may arise in different Member States as high-speed networks are being developed and legacy networks phased out or where markets have become mature – with the intention to increase awareness on how incentives to invest change with changing market conditions and how competition is affected. The Work Programme 2018 therefore includes the following activities that contribute to this strategic goal.

P4

Duct and pole access have become more and more relevant in the context of increasing infrastructure competition and fixed mobile convergence, where operators need access to the fixed incumbents’ ducts and poles to deploy high capacity access and backhaul networks. Additionally, the directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (2014/61/EU) emphasizes the role of access to physical infrastructure on the deployment of new generation networks, addressing measures, such as the sharing and re-use of existing physical infrastructure, which are expected to create conditions for a more cost-efficient network deployment. Although most NRAs are including duct and pole access in their market analyses, there is currently no clear guidance from the current framework on the relevant market in which it should be included. BEREC considers it especially interesting to identify how NRAs have chosen to address access to physical infrastructure in their market analysis, whether there is a common approach among NRAs, as well as EC views on the approaches proposed by NRAs. The report to be prepared will provide a snapshot of how access to physical infrastructure is regulated among BEREC countries, EC views on NRA decisions, and will also provide an analysis of the opportunity to isolate this market in order to conduct market analyses that would be methodologically robust and consistent with the regulatory framework.

Deliverables

BEREC Report on access to physical infrastructure in market analyses

Public Consultation: No

Adoption in Plenary 4 for publication

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P5
V02
Author: Savvas Andreadis Berec Office Date: 06 October 2017

The Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD) is intended to reduce the cost of high speed broadband deployment by increasing transparency on and enabling access to existing physical infrastructure, including non-ECN infrastructure, deployable for high speed broadband networks, by promoting coordination of civil works between different network operators and ECN operators and finally by fostering access to existing passive in-building infrastructure.

In 2017 a report was completed on the „Implementation of the BCRD” giving an overview of the tasks appointed to NRAs and how they were implemented (where this has already been the case). One of the challenges identified in some MS relate to the price setting for access to existing physical infrastructure as foreseen in Article 3.

Since the determination of pricing terms is one of the more complex issues addressed by the BCRD it will be studied in more detail in a follow-up report. Pricing terms might become relevant in all three areas of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (access to existing physical infrastructure, coordination of civil works, access to passive inbuilding infrastructure). Potential questions arising in this context include, but are not limited to:

  • How should prices be determined in cases of Article 3 (physical infrastructure), Article 5 (civil works) and Article 9 (in-building physical infrastructure) by the dispute settlement body?

 

  • How can consistency of pricing across different disputes be ensured? Are case-specific characteristics (e.g. differences in geographical properties or in methods used for civil works) the determining factor of individual prices or can pricing be generalised?

 

  • How can the terminological differences regarding pricing criteria be interpreted from the viewpoint of the dispute settlement body?

 

  • Should the differentiation between cases where the requested network operator is either a public electronic communication network (ECN) operator or a non-ECN operator as mentioned in Article 3 (5) subpara 3 also be applied to cases of Article 5?

 

  • In the case of a non-ECN operator being requested regarding Article 3 or 5: Which cost and risk components should be considered by the dispute settlement body when determining the price?


Deliverables

BEREC Report on pricing for access to infrastructure and civil works

Public Consultation: Yes

Adoption in Plenary 3 for public consultation

Adoption of final Report in 2019

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P6

The BEREC Common Position on geographic aspects of market analysis (definition and remedies)[1] was published in June, 2014. After its publication, many of the NRAs have applied this common position in the context of market definition and remedies geographical segmentation, and in October 2014 the EC published a new recommendation on relevant markets. This report is aimed to provide an overview of experiences in NRAs applying geographical segmentation of both markets and remedies. Among other issues, the report will address issues taken into account by NRAs for the definition of subnational markets and/or differentiated remedies, as well as methodologies, tools and other relevant aspects in relation to geographical differences in competition. This report could feed into a future update of the BEREC Common Position on geographical segmentation.

Deliverables

BEREC Report on geographical market definition

Public Consultation: No

Adoption in Plenary 4 for publication

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P7

In 2017, BEREC produced a report on NRA experiences of imposing symmetric regulation with a focus on the rationale for and scope of symmetric access interventions and the powers that were invoked to impose symmetric access. Since then, BEREC has produced a position paper to broadly support the EC’s proposals to retain the existing provisions on symmetric regulation such that they are coherent with the SMP regulation and to enable NRAs to impose appropriate access obligations where operators lack access to viable alternatives to non-replicable assets. Although the relevant text (Article 59 (2) in the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC)) has not been finalised, the concept of economic and technical replicability is expected to be similar to the relevant text in the current framework (Article 12 (3) Framework Directive (FD)), which states that symmetric obligations can be imposed up to the first concentration point where “duplication of such infrastructure would be economically inefficient or physically impracticable.” In this context, this report will set out NRA experiences of assessing technical or economic replicability in order to impose symmetric access requirements. The report will consider how and under which circumstances these tests have been applied, any issues/problems NRAs encountered when applying these tests, and whether further guidance is required from BEREC on applying these tests in the future.

Deliverables

BEREC Report on technical and economic replicability assessment in the context of symmetrical access

Public Consultation: No

Adoption in Plenary 2 for publication

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P8

BEREC already analysed layer 2 wholesale access products (L2 WAP) in recent years and published a report on common characteristics of layer 2 wholesale access products (BoR (15) 133) imposed as a remedy on the wholesale local access market (market 3a) and the wholesale central access market (market 3b) and also a common position on layer 2 wholesale access products (BoR (16) 162) on these markets.

According to the EC`s Recommendation on relevant product markets of 2014, the wholesale high-quality access market (market 4) includes not only leased lines (with traditional and/or alternative interfaces) but also other high-quality access products, if they fulfil certain criteria. Therefore, in recent years, several NRAs not only included high-quality access products other than leased lines, in particular advanced bitstream products, in market 4 but also imposed such products as a remedy on the SMP operator.

In order to get a deeper insight into these products and to contribute to consistent access products as well as to foster the knowledge transfer between NRAs, the project will analyse layer 2 wholesale access products imposed on market 4 with a focus on advanced bitstream products (not including Ethernet leased lines). The objectives are:

  • to give an overview of layer 2 wholesale access products currently in place on market 4 based on experiences of NRAs;
  • to analyse to what extent layer 2 wholesale access products in different countries have characteristics in common and to identify these common characteristics; and
  • to analyse the main differences between layer 2 wholesale access products imposed on market 4 and layer 2 wholesale access products imposed on markets 3a and 3b.

Deliverables

BEREC Report on the L2 WAP/advanced bitstream offers for undertaking (M4)

Public Consultation: No

Adoption in Plenary 2 for publication

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P9

Based on the conclusion of the BEREC Report on the assessment to consider whether there may be a need to review the Common Postions on markets 3a, 3b and 4 that will be adopted in December 2017, BEREC will organize an internal workshop to discuss potential changes arising from the EECC and its impact on the possible revision of the CPs.

Deliverables

Internal Expert Workshop

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