BEREC Report on the Current Cybersecurity Challenges and Dependencies in Electronic Communication Networks

Document number: BoR (23) 213

Document date: 07-12-2023

Date of registration: 12-12-2023

Document type:
Author: BEREC

In 2023, the BEREC Cybersecurity Working Group conducted a comprehensive survey across European markets with the aim of gaining insights into the current state of resilience and cybersecurity in electronic communications networks. This survey, carried out through questionnaires, targeted both National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and operators, both fixed and mobile. It is the second iteration of such an effort, building upon the findings presented in BEREC's report on Secure 5G Networks.

The survey revealed various significant findings. From the NRAs' perspective, it explored issues such as dependencies on other infrastructures, specifically focusing on the legal and regulatory aspects of emergency power supply equipment in mobile networks across European countries. The results indicated varying degrees of national regulations in this regard, with cybersecurity frameworks often serving as a basis. The backup times for emergency power supplies and guidelines for informing users about reducing dependence on a single connection or provider during power outages were also investigated. Moreover, the survey inquired about national strategies for Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) aimed at enhancing internet infrastructure resilience.

From the operators' perspective, the survey delved into their views on emergency power supply equipment and network resilience. The majority of operators indicated comprehensive coverage of their core networks with permanent emergency power equipment. Backup times, strategies for reducing energy consumption during emergencies, and the use of renewable energy sources were among the subjects examined. Furthermore, it investigated customer dependency on a single connection or provider and roaming agreements. Subsea cables and satellite communication networks were also part of the survey.

This report is based on the analysis of the questions mainly related to the dependencies on other infrastructures and some technological challenges for operators. The rest of the data gathered by this extensive questionnaire has already been presented in the BEREC's report on Secure 5G Networks . The answers were gathered from the operators by the national independent regulators (NRAs) on a voluntary basis. Some questions were not applicable to all operators because they depend on the services offered. This generally explains why the number of respondents vary for each question. The total number of the answers gathered is presented in the analysis of each question.