Arcep is France’s Electronic Communications, Postal and Print media distribution Regulatory Authority (L’Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques, des postes et de la distribution de la presse). It was created on 5 January 1997, and originally called the Telecoms Regulatory Authority or ART.
Arcep is regularly required to interact with European institutions, and especially with the European Commission. This interaction occurs especially as part of the notification procedure for ex ante draft regulations (particularly market analyses).
In a more general fashion, Arcep lends its technical expertise to European projects, to the minister responsible for telecommunications and the Secretariat-General for European Affairs (SGAE), in addition to participating in drafting French authorities’ positions on electronic communications and postal matters.
Relations with the European Union also result in Arcep’s participation in the work done by the committees defined by European directives, such as the Communications Committee (COCOM) which addresses a large portion of the issues that fall under Arcep’s purview, the Radio Spectrum Committee (RSCOM) of national experts, and the Postal Directive Committee.
Regulators groups in Europe
BEREC: The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.
A European regulation from 2009 (which is currently under review) created the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to establish a more formal framework for the joint actions taken by independent regulatory authorities, and relations with European institutions. BEREC is especially active on issues relating to the development of fixed and mobile connectivity in Europe, protecting an open internet and roaming.
BEREC’s membership is made up of national regulatory authorities (NRA) from the 28 European Union Member States (with observer status given to EFTA countries and candidate Member States).
By pooling NRAs’ experience and expertise, BEREC advises European institutions, and notably the European Commission. It participates in Phase II investigations when the Commission expresses serious doubts on draft market analyses notified by national regulators, and drafts common positions, opinions, best practices and reports through some one dozen working groups. It consults regularly with the sector on its draft decisions, and is managed by its Office in Riga, Latvia. As an advisory body to European institutions, BEREC can also contribute to European law-making for the electronic communications sector.
Arcep’s departments play an active role in the work done by the different BEREC expert working groups.
Of particular note, BEREC supports national regulators’ consistent and efficient enforcement of Open internet directives and guidelines by having common tools and methods for detecting net neutrality violations, and by fostering dialogue between these authorities on concrete implementation matters. BEREC also draws on this experience to evaluate the success of the regulation’s implementation on a regular basis.