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Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean 

The role of regulation in digital development

Montevideo, Uruguay, 3-5 April 2013
(you can find the speech on video here)

By Dr Leonidas Kanellos

Estimados Ministros, Estimados Delegados, señoras et señores,

I am very glad to be here with you and address la cuarta Conferencia

ministerial sobre la sociedad de la informacion e America Latina y el

Caribe as Chairman of BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for

Electronic Communications.

Following the presentations of this morning, I must confess that I was

impressed by the awareness and the efforts made by the public

authorities in the region to develop high speed broadband not as a luxury

but as a critical national infrastructure.

We regulators are not politicians, but we have a high political role to the extent we need to translate high level political objectives into concrete rules for the market so as to produce consumer welfare.

Let me briefly highlight the practical experience of BEREC and its potential role for promoting cooperation with our colleagues of REGULATEL, the regulators in Latin America.

BEREC was established in 2009 as a successor of ERG (European Regulators Group). It provides an official and institutional cooperation framework between regulators of 27 Member States, states with different market conditions, different network infrastructures and different competitive dynamics, as the case is in your region.

BEREC is an independent body. When performing our job we do not receive or follow orders or instructions by any government, by the European Commission, by operators or by any third party. The main role of BEREC is to advise and assist the European Commission in issues related to electronic communications, including the promotion of a flagship political initiative called "Digital Agenda for Europe". This ambitious broadband plan aims at making "every European digital" irrespective of geographic location or social and economic condition. Our regulatory body also advises the European Parliament and the Council on matters related to the electronic communications sector.

BEREC is composed of an executive Board of Regulators, whose members are heads or representatives of the National Regulatory Authorities established in each Member State with primary responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the national telecommunications markets. The European Commission and representatives of NRAs in the European Economic Area together with the EU candidate countries also participate as observers. In its daily work, BEREC is assisted by an Office, a Community Body, which was established with the same Regulation and became operational in 2011.

To fulfill our mandate, we at BEREC have developed a strategy, an annual work program and adequate working methods to support it. For instance, in order to tackle complex questions we set up expert working groups formed by engineers, economists and lawyers from the national authorities. We develop complex economic models to test bundles, that is to say triple play products combining high speed access, voice and content services, so as to identify margin squeeze practices or predatory pricing applied by operators with significant market power. To identify SMP operators, we conduct market analysis every two or three years and we impose on said market actors regulatory obligations in form of remedies. In other words, to protect competition, we oblige dominant players to grant third parties access to their networks under fair, transparent and non discriminatory terms, offer wholesale pricing, timely delivery of leased lines and facilities, fault repair etc.

Consistent with the body's medium-term strategy and with the European Digital Agenda, our joint action for this year comprises three main areas of work, notably boosting the roll-out of Next-Generation Networks, consumer empowerment and protection, and  boosting the internal market in Europe.

In the first area of work we seek to promote regulatory approaches and practices that enhance competition and provide the right incentives for investment in new, fixed and mobile, broadband high-speed networks across Europe. Such networks are considered as dynamic tools to provide services such as education, healthcare, social networking and entertainment to citizens.

In the second area we address issues such as support for users with disabilities, internet openness, net neutrality, tariff transparency and quality of service.

In the third area we prioritize the implement
ation of the new Roaming Regulation, seeking to introduce effective competition in the roaming market in Europe, so as to offer consumers attractive prices when traveling abroad. We also support the promotion of cross-border services and the development of machine-to-machine communications.

Through the fruitful cooperation among regulators, BEREC has gained maturity and visibility between all stakeholders in the electronic communications sector in Europe.

We are open to discuss and define terms of cooperation with our Latin American colleagues on various levels, namely, provide them training and regulatory expertise, exchange regulatory best practices, form joint expert working groups, address organizational and governance issues, which will allow REGULATEL become more effective for the markets, the citizens and the economy.

Europe and Latin America have strong cultural and economic ties. We do believe that cooperation and sharing of expertise between us will be mutually beneficial, so as to promote an all-inclusive information society.

Gracias por su atencion.

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