This section is dedicated to the presentation of the plans of national regulatory authorities’ (NRA) on the regulation of OTT communications and the telecommunications services in general. Its major focus lies on Europe, however, plans from other parts of the world will not be excluded, either. The amount of relevant regulation and NRAs’ publications is expected to further increase in the future. So please feel encouraged to come by and have another look from time to time.
10 December 2020
European security agency ENISA publishes new security guideline
The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) publishes a new edition of its security guideline, specifying the technical details of implementing Articles 40 and 41 of the EECC. The EECC itself remains largely silent on the specific types of measures to be implemented and merely states that these must be “appropriate and proportionate”, mentioning encryption as an example. Insofar, publications by regulatory bodies such as the ENISA are of great importance to gain further insight on the prescribed requirements.
The ENISA confirms that the security provisions in the EECC for OTT services “are the same as for the number-based services.” However, it also specifies that “depending on the setting, the type of network or service offered, the assets involved, etc., some of the security measures in this guideline may not be fully applicable.” Supplementary guidance on OTT services is under development and will be published separately.
The security guideline is implemented and specified by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) of each EU member state. E.g., on 23 December 2020, the German NRA BNetzA published the 2nd version of its Catalogue of security requirements for the operation of telecommunications and data processing systems and for the processing of personal data. The catalogue does not distinguish between OTT services and traditional communications services.
22 April 2020
BEREC survey foreshadows OTT regulation
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) calls on providers of OTT services to provide information on “different OTT parameters”. Providers are invited to answer two questionnaires. The aim of the survey is to identify the “metrics and indicators” which will help the national regulatory authorities to gain a better understanding of the electronic communications markets. In particular, information collected internally and the definitions and methods used for such an assessment are queried. A report shall be completed in 2021.
17 December 2020
Ofcom informs about EECC implementation in the UK
Ofcom publishes its final notification of the changes it is making to its regulatory rules to implement the customer protections in the European Electronic Communications Code, revised consolidated versions of its rules, and its final decisions on changes to reflect the end of the transition period under the EU Withdrawal Agreement. The statement includes changes to the general conditions, metering and billing direction, as well as the national telephone numbering plan.
For the full statement as well as supporting documents visit the Ofcom homepage.
22 May 2020
BNetzA publishes report on the use of OTT services
The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) publishes a comprehensive report on the use of OTT communications services in Germany. It concludes that the spread of OTT communication services constitutes a clear change in the telecommunications sector. Everyday communication behaviour of consumers is increasingly changing. However, the report also sees continued high importance of classic communication services, e.g., as a fallback option to ensure that all contact partners can be reached.
While the report remains descriptive and does not state any particular plans as to OTT regulation, its findings speak against regulation to ensure interoperability between OTT services. Users were not clearly in favour of or against the creation of cross-service communication. 48% of surveyed users did not think it was important that users of different OTT services could reach each other. 65% engaged in so-called multihoming (defined as the use of at least two OTT services).
Such findings are of particular importance under the European Electronic Communications Code as its article 61(2)(a) gives national regulatory authorities expressly the power to make services interoperable “where end-to-end connectivity between end-users is endangered”. The report of the Federal Network Agency does not give rise to such concerns, at least for the moment.
For the full report visit the BNetzA homepage (German only).