The End Users Working Group (EU WG) focuses on promoting consumer choice and empowerment by developing policies that assist consumers in making better-informed choices and ensure access to electronic communications services for all, including users with disabilities. The aim of the EU WG is to reinforce the practical implementation of consumers’ rights, identifying and disseminating best practices among members of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The EU WG fosters consistency in the application of Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Electronic Communications Code – the 'EECC', ensuring that directly or indirectly, consumers benefit from simpler and better contractual relations with their providers.
Working Group Co-chairs
(Note: This video was recorded in 2022. It may include one or more former Co-chairs).
Work in 2023
In 2023, the EU WG will continue working on related topics, based on the BEREC Work Programme 2023.
BEREC Report on Member States’ best practices to support the defining of adequate broadband Internet Access Service
Article 84 of the EECC provides that Member States (MSs) must ensure that all consumers in their territories have access, in light of specific national conditions, to an adequate broadband Internet Access Service (IAS) and to Voice Communications Services at an affordable price and to a specified quality, including the underlying connection, at a fixed location.
In 2020, BEREC published the first Report on MSs’ best practices to support the defining of adequate broadband. The update requires BEREC to reflect technological advances and changes in consumer usage patterns. The update will gather and analyse relevant information including the continued suitability of the evaluation criteria consulted on in the previous Report, relevant experiences to support MSs in defining adequate broadband, and the minimum set of services that the adequate broadband is capable of supporting.
BEREC Report on Comparison Tools and Accreditation
Article 103 of the EECC requires that end users have access free of charge to at least one independent comparison tool which enables them to compare and evaluate different IAS and publicly available Number-based Interpersonal Communications Services (NB-ICS), and, where applicable, publicly available Number-independent Interpersonal Communications Services (NI-ICS).
The Report on Comparison Tools and Accreditation has been finalised and adopted. It offers insights on the comparison tools which enable consumers to compare and evaluate IAS and publicly available NB-ICS as set out in Article 103 of the EECC, look whether comparison tools allow for comparison of bundles of IAS or publicly available NB-ICS with other electronic communication services and capture details of the certification processes within each MS that is available, upon request, to providers of comparison tools that meet the requirements set out in Article 103 of the EECC.
- Consult published document: BEREC Report on Comparison Tools and Accreditation
BEREC Guidelines detailing Quality of Service parameters of Internet Access Services and publicly available Interpersonal Communications Services and the publication of information
According to Article 104 of the EECC, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in coordination with Other Competent Authorities (OCAs) may require providers of IAS and of publicly available ICS to publish comprehensive, comparable, reliable, user-friendly and up-to-date information for end users on the quality of their services and on measures taken to ensure equivalence in access for end users with disabilities. NRAs, in coordination with OCAs, have also to specify, taking utmost account of BEREC Guidelines, the Quality of Service (QoS) parameters to be measured, the applicable measurement methods and the content, form and manner of the information to be published, including possible quality certification mechanisms.
In 2020, BEREC published the first Guidelines BoR (20) 53 detailing QoS parameters with the provision of commencing a review two years from their publication. The project will address the constituent elements of the legislative task assigned to BEREC, including the relevant QoS parameters in relation to ICS and IAS, the parameters relevant for end users with disabilities, the applicable measurement methods for QoS parameters including, where appropriate, the ETSI and ITU standards set out in Annex X to the EECC in relation to ICS and IAS respectively. Moreover, the QoS of 5G networks including the identification of appropriate technical key performance indicators to qualify service levels and comparison of network deployment in Member States on the basis of available QoS 5G connectivity, including mechanisms to collect and process QoS data to ensure the monitoring of 5G network deployment, the feasibility and conditions for using 5G QoS data in geographical maps made available to users could also be considered, the content and format of QoS information and the quality certification mechanisms.
BEREC Opinion on Article 123 of the European Electronic Communications Code
BEREC is tasked with publishing an Opinion on the application of Title III of Part III of the EECC (referring to end user rights) every three years or more frequently if at least two MSs make a reasoned request. If such requests are made, an Opinion will be drafted in 2023.
Why is this important?
In recent years, among others, the electronic communications market has entered a new digital area in which end users are facing an increasing range of offers, particularly with regard to digital services, applications and the bundling of various products, moving away from the classical per-minute tariff-schemes towards flat rate packages. Moreover, the rapid growth of smartphones has created a need for data tariffs that are often non-transparent to end users, leading to unwanted costs. Throughout all aspects, it needs to be ensured that transparent information is available and end users have simple switching processes at hand. This calls for strengthening consumer protection in our future work to a high-level, particularly making information accessible also to disabled end user.