A better connectivity for a better future, agrees BEREC and FCC within the discussion

23 December 2020

The regulatory strategies and measures employed in Europe and the US to ensure connectivity during the pandemics were among the topics discussed between the incoming BEREC Chair 2021 Michel Van Bellinghen (BIPT, Belgium) and the outgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC, USA) Chairman Ajit Pai. The International Institute of Communications (IIC) organized a virtual discussion within the video series – IN CONVERSATION.

During the informal discussion between two leaders, the incoming BEREC Chair emphasized the role of connectivity during the pandemics and in the future, highlighting the BEREC achievements in monitoring the potential network congestions during the past nine months. Michel Van Bellinghen said: “The period of pandemics was also an important test for our net neutrality regulation. In Europe, the operators are authorized to apply to exception traffic management measures to prevent congestion with an important condition – the equivalent categories of traffic shall be treated equally.” The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai mentioned the so-called “Keep Americans connected” pledge to ensure private-public partnerships during pandemics for the benefit of end-users.

During the discussion, both speakers agreed that BEREC plays a vital role in pushing for fibre connectivity in Europe. Michel Van Bellighen explained that for the switch-off from copper to fibre, investments are crucial. Therefore, the regulatory and legal certainty can help to attract investors. Regarding the upcoming wireless plans, the incoming BEREC Chair shortly described the European situation in terms of coordination in 5G spectrum bands and security issues.

The speakers concluded the discussion with the exchange of thoughts on the regulatory philosophy and how the public interest definition has changed. During this part of the talk, the European initiative to regulate digital platform was addressed. Mr. Pai also focused on whether there should be an American federal privacy law.