Paris, 14 december 2015
Last Thursday, Sébastien Soriano, Chairman of France's Electronic communications and postal regulatory (ARCEP), was appointed Chair of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) for 2017. He will be replacing Wilhelm Eschweiler, Vice-president of German regulatory authority, BnetzA, who will assume the chairmanship in 2016.
With this appointment come the significant responsibilities of the BEREC Vice-Chair, starting in 2016 and up to 2018. The term of office for the BEREC Chair lasts only one year but, to ensure the continuity of the Body's work, the appointment includes two years as Vice-Chair: one year before and one year after serving as Chair.
BEREC is an independent European body, established by European legislation, whose members include the regulators of the 28 European Union Member States and nine regulators with observer status. Over the past five years, BEREC has become a voice that is recognised for its expertise and opinions on electronic communications, and the digital ecosystem in general, acting as a common working platform and serving as a key advisor to the European Commission, Parliament and Council. Its operation is based on the work performed by the Board of Regulators, composed of the heads of national regulatory authorities (NRA) who hold at least four plenary meetings a year, seconded by the BEREC Office in Riga, Latvia, which has a permanent staff of 27 people. Drawing on the resources of member NRAs, the Body's work is organised into Expert Working Groups.
BEREC will have to tackle several major issues during the course of the 2016 to 2018 mandate, starting immediately with implementing "open internet and international roaming" regulations, which will include drafting net neutrality guidelines by summer 2016, and establishing proposals for the wholesale roaming market. Another major milestone towards achieving the digital single market strategy will be the review of the European framework, in the run-up to fourth Telecoms Package. BEREC is also working on a number of long-term issues, to meet the newfound challenges of the digital society, for instance by exploring ways to encourage new generation access network rollouts, the questions raised by the development of the Internet of Things, and over-the-top (OTT) services, for which a consultation is currently underway.
ARCEP has been involved from the start in the technical work performed by BEREC. Its staff members participate on a daily basis in the working groups, and co-chair a number of them. This appointment therefore marks the culmination of the work performed over several years by all of ARCEP's teams.