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Overview of Ofcom’s telecoms activities

Our European activities in relation to telecoms fall within Ofcom’s strategic priority to engage with the development of international regulatory frameworks within which the UK, Ofcom and our stakeholders operate, so as to ensure that they are practical, proportionate and serve the interests of UK citizens and consumers.

This relates in particular to our engagement with the European institutions and with communications regulators in other European countries and around the world, both bilaterally and through regulatory networks such as the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Both these types of engagement help us to pursue a coherent and coordinated approach to international communications regulation.

Our aim is to contribute constructively to European legislative and regulatory developments which impact on our duties and responsibilities and which affect UK citizens and consumers, including areas such as broadband roll-out, universal service, net neutrality and consumer protection.

We do so by working closely with the UK Government (Department for Culture, Media & Sport - DCMS) and the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union (UK REP) with regard to the development and implementation of new EU legislation. We also work closely with the European Commission (in particular the following Directorates: Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT), Competition (COMP) and Health and Consumers (SANCO)) and with other national regulators in the EU through BEREC, to ensure a consistent application of the EU regulatory framework.

With regard to telecoms, we follow closely all initiatives the European Commission takes in the context of its flagship strategy called the Digital Agenda and the new Digital Single Market Strategy. We aim to respond to, and contribute to, the development of Commission guidance and Recommendations on various policy issues, some of which relate to the implementation of the EU regulatory framework. We have specific duties and powers under the EU Regulatory Framework for electronic communications networks and services. As such, we were actively involved in the implementation of the EU Regulatory Framework, a revised version of which entered into force on 26 May 2011. We liaise closely with the European Commission, providing information for data gathering and benchmarking purposes such as the Commission's annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard and the Digital Economy and Society Index and support the UK’s input into the Communications Committee. For telecoms benchmarking purposes Ofcom also contributes to the BEREC benchmarking exercises and OECD statistical surveys.

Ofcom is an active member of BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, where it devotes significant resources to ensure its success and the delivery of its annual work programme. BEREC’s work covers, among other issues, net neutrality, regulatory remedies, the promotion of competition in superfast broadband, and mobile roaming.

Ofcom also represents the UK Government on telecommunications issues in the International Telecommunication Union sectors for Standardisation (ITU-T) and Development (ITU-D), as well as at the OECD.