Press release - BEREC identifies new dynamics on connectivity issues and competition in draft report on internet ecosystem
Big Tech companies have a growing impact on connectivity issues, openness and competition dynamics in the sector. Their increased involvement in providing services related to electronic communications services and their impact on telecom infrastructure and regulation deserve to be further assessed. This is one of the main conclusions of BEREC’s draft report on the internet ecosystem which is opened to public consultation. The final report will feed into the current and future BEREC work on digital environments, including BEREC’s contribution to the implementation of the Digital Markets Act.
The report provides a comprehensive view and analysis of all the internet ecosystem’s elements: electronic communication services and networks and other elements used to access, distribute and share content and applications online, such as devices, operating systems, app stores, browsers or cloud services among others.
The report highlights how the users’ internet experience is affected by many different elements which are largely dominated by the Big Tech companies (e.g. operating systems, app stores, etc.). A small number of digital platforms have now reached a position that allows them to shape and restrict both the competition dynamics on different elements and the openness under which content, services and information can be accessed and shared.
Most of these elements are not directly within BEREC members’ regulatory realm but can have an impact on telecommunication services and networks which are subject to monitoring and regulation by BEREC members.
During today’s public debriefing on the outcomes of the recent BEREC plenary meetings, BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes (ACM, Netherlands) commented: “BEREC develops innovative regulatory practices for the digital infrastructure to ensure that they remain fit for purpose in the context of rapid technological change and the growing importance of meaningful end-to-end connectivity.”
With a view to ensure consistent application of the new EU Roaming Regulation, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) approved its Retail Roaming Guidelines for public consultation. The document explains the EU Roaming Regulation and proposes several changes to the current BEREC Guidelines, now including new provisions at the retail level, such as requirements on the quality of services and additional transparency measures. BEREC invites stakeholders to provide contributions to the draft documents by 9 August 2022.
On 25 May 2022, the Board of Regulators also launched the public consultation on the Wholesale Roaming Guidelines. BEREC invites stakeholders to send their inputs to the draft document by 24 June 2022. The National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) have to take BEREC Guidelines into utmost account, when supervising the compliance with the Roaming Regulation in their Member States.
Open Internet Regulation
BEREC has adopted updated guidelines on the implementation of the EU Open Internet Regulation, prepared in light of the European Court of Justice rulings. The Guidelines make it clear that zero tariff offers are incompatible with the obligation of equal treatment of traffic in the Open Internet Regulation. The scope of the draft updates to the document is limited to the Court’s rulings of last year. The Guidelines were prepared in close cooperation with the European Commission and consultation with the stakeholders during the public consultation.
The Open Internet is considered an important building block in the current EU telecom rules. With specific obligations on telecom operators, it guarantees an open internet for the benefit of end-users. BEREC has an important role in contributing to the continued, predictable and consistent application of Open Internet Regulation.
Draft BEREC Report on satellite connectivity for universal service – BEREC launched the document for public consultation until 15 August, 2022. The document summarises the answers gathered through a questionnaire submitted to the NRAs and specifically equips BEREC with relevant information on issues associated with satellite connectivity for universal service.
Draft BEREC report on best practices for ensuring equivalence of access and choice for disabled end-users - BEREC launched the document for public consultation 15 August, 2022. The report identifies the solutions available in the Member States to meet the needs of users with disabilities and provides information on the availability and affordability of specific equipment and services that enhance equivalent access.
BEREC Report on Sustainability: Assessing BEREC’s contribution to limiting the impact of the digital sector on the environment. The document provides an overview of the results of BEREC’s groundwork on the sustainability of Information and Communications Technologies. It helps to assess and better understand the impact of the digital sector, including electronic communications networks and services, on the environment. The documents also indicates an outline of BEREC’s approach to the environmental sustainability of the sector.
A full list of public documents adopted at the 51st ordinary meetings is available on the BEREC website.
The 52nd BEREC ordinary meetings will take place on 5-7 October 2022 in Salzburg, Austria.