BEREC-GSMA ministerial roundtable focuses on internet ecosystem, high-capacity networks and sustainability

27 February 2022

At the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2022 in Barcelona, the BEREC delegation held the annual BEREC-GSMA ministerial roundtable on 28 February. The delegation met with high-level representatives of the European telecoms operators in order to continue proactively gathering knowledge and experiences, to learn more about new technologies and to develop best practices for enhancing BEREC’s working methods. Cooperative and efficient engagement with stakeholders is one of the key assets for BEREC to be ready to anticipate future challenges.

Internet ecosystem
During the discussion on the challenges and opportunities which the fast-evolving internet value chain brings to the industry and policymakers, the BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes (ACM, Netherlands) emphasized the vital role that technology plays in shaping society's future. She underlined that fostering innovation for businesses and services will improve lives for citizens. Just like other ecosystems, all elements of the internet are interrelated and affect each other. Thus, internet experience for consumers and business users is also affected by many other elements, such as terminals, operating systems, applications, app stores, or content.
“During 2022, BEREC aims at preparing a comprehensive view on the internet ecosystem, both on the network layers and the electronic communications services supporting internet access and beyond. BEREC will identify the type of actors representing a relevant gateway to information and services, the bottlenecks and barriers to entry and expansion on specific elements, as well as the interactions between different elements within the internet ecosystem and how they economically and technically affect each other,” said the BEREC Chair. On 16 March 2022, BEREC will also launch a public consultation on the draft update of the BEREC Guidelines on implementation of the Open Internet Regulation.

Competitive and reliable high-capacity networks
In 2022, BEREC will continue prioritising work that improves the general conditions for the expansion and take-up of secure, competitive and reliable high-capacity networks across Europe, while ensuring a smooth transition from legacy infrastructures. During the discussion, the BEREC Vice-Chair Michel Van Bellinghen (BIPT, Belgium) emphasized that reaching the Digital Decade targets will surely require cooperation and stakeholder engagement. He also reminded that it is vital that regulatory practices remain fit for purpose. National Regulatory Authorities can help to structure the right framework to achieve the targets, while balancing the other objectives of the European Electronic Communications Code.

Sustainability factor
Among the other topics, the BEREC-GSMA ministerial roundtable also focused on the sustainability factor - how the collaboration between policymakers and industry can ensure the reach of the climate goals. BEREC acknowledges the importance of environmental issues and is committed to improving sustainability. That includes the ICT-related parts of the Green Deal and the Agenda 2030 targets with the aim of identifying the sustainable development goals that could be relevant for BEREC. During the discussion, the BEREC Vice-Chair Emmanuel Gabla (Arcep, France) emphasized that the BEREC strategy 2021-2025 also includes raising awareness on the environmental impact of electronic networks as a relevant lever for end users’ empowerment.
In March, at the BEREC plenary meetings, the Board of Regulators will launch the public consultation on BEREC’s first report on environmental sustainability focusing on the environmental footprint of the digital sector. Moreover, BEREC has commissioned a study on the impact of electronic communications on the environment. The study will be presented during the 10th BEREC Stakeholder Forum on 23 March 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.