Electronic Communications Committee (ECC)
Information on the tasks, the structure and the working arrangements for ECC and the European Radiocommunications Office (ERO)
The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) has two Committees that report to the CEPT Plenary. These are CERP (dealing with postal matters) and ECC (Electronic Communications Committee), responsible for electronic communications matters. ECC was established in September 2001 as a result of the merger between ECTRA (responsible for general telecommunications matters) and ERC (responsible for radiocommunications matters).
The ECC brings together the regulatory administrations of the CEPT member countries. Counsellors from the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association Secretariat participate in the activities of the ECC and its Working Groups.
Representatives of relevant intergovernmental organisations as well as other organisations or administrations concerned with European electronic communications may be invited by the Chairmen of the ECC or its Working Groups to participate as observers in meetings, on an ad hoc basis.
Individual members of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) may participate in Project Teams.
The European Radiocommunications Office (ERO) supports the work of the ECC, the ECC Steering Group and all of its Working Groups. It provides a focal point for consultation and a centre of expertise for electronic communications regulation.
As of June 2007, 48 countries are members of the CEPT. Only European administrations that are members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) or the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) can become members of CEPT.
The mission of the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) established by the Conference of European Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) is to:
- consider and develop common electronic communications regulatory policies in a European context, taking account of European and international legislation and regulations;
- forward plan and harmonise within Europe the efficient use of the radio spectrum, satellite orbits and numbering resources, so as to satisfy requirements of users and industry;
- promote the interest of Europe on a world-wide basis in the preparations for ITU fora;
- encourage deregulation and liberalisation;
- foster the process of free circulation of radiocommunication equipment to support the development of an open and competitive market.
The main tasks of the ECC are to develop policies on electronic communications activities in a European context and forward plan and harmonise the efficient use of the radio spectrum, satellite orbits and numbering resources within Europe.
Another important task is the development of European common positions and proposals for use in the framework of international and regional bodies.
Proposals for harmonisation measures are prepared by the working groups of the ECC, generally in the form of draft Decisions, which are given final approval following public consultation with all interested parties (operators, manufacturers, users and standards bodies etc). These Decisions are binding agreements between the administrations and can therefore play a major role in the harmonisation of radio regulatory regimes within the CEPT countries.
The ECC has permanent Working Groups (WGs) and project teams (PTs). In addition, task groups can be established for well-defined tasks. The structure of the ECC is currently under review.
Detailed information on the WGs and PTs and their activities is available on the ERO web site.
The ECC Steering Group, which comprises the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the ECC and its Working Groups and the Director of the ERO, undertakes the necessary preparation activities for ECC meetings and coordinates the activities of the working groups.
In May 1991, the need of the ERC for permanent staff resources to assist the Committee in its work of determining and harmonising, where appropriate, future developments in frequency management and regulatory issues, led to the creation of the European Radiocommunications Office (ERO) which is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The ERO provides a centre of expertise for long term planning activities and in addition acts as a focal point for consultations concerning spectrum management and regulatory matters.
The ERO was established on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which defines the terms of reference of the ERO, its relationship with the ERC and the funding arrangements. In 1996 this MoU was replaced by the "Convention for the establishment of the European Radiocommunications Office" which has to this date been signed by 30 CEPT administrations.
ERO is the distribution point for all ECC documentation and also provides detailed information about the work of the ECC via the ERO web site www.ero.dk. The ERO web site is an important element in the process where information is provided about the latest developments within the ECC with reports of recent meetings and approved texts of ECC Decisions, Recommendations and Reports.
In the regulatory processes, the interests of all parties involved in electronic communications have to be ensured. In its new organisational structure the ECC is much better equipped to balance all opinions and interests and sees it as one of its major tasks to improve the dialogue with the different interested parties. To this end, various consultation mechanisms have been introduced in order that bodies with an interest in European electronic communications can express their views in the decision-making processes of the ECC.
This consultation process includes a regular CEPT Conference, where various topics of current interest in the area of electronic communications are presented and discussed.
The consultation process further includes coordination between interested parties and the ERO, as well as the possibility for international organisations to participate in the ECC and its working groups.
ERO has the overall objective of developing proposals for a European Table of Frequency Allocations and Utilisations for the frequency range 9 kHz to 275 GHz, to be implemented by 2008.
The European Common Allocation Table (ECA) with spectrum strategies for the current and future use of spectrum in Europe has been developed based on a major consultation activity called the Detailed Spectrum Investigation process (DSI). This consultation arrangement was developed and organised by ERO with very active participation and involvement from European industry and users of the radio frequency spectrum.
The DSI process had three phases:
DSI Phase I, covering the band 3400 MHz – 105 GHz, developed in 1992-93
DSI Phase II, covering the band 29.7 – 960 MHz, developed in 1994-95
DSI Phase III, covering the band 862 - 3400 MHz, developed in 1998-2000
The ECA is also to a large extent aligned with military use of frequency spectrum in Europe. Military frequency requirements included in the table have been supported by the NATO Joint Civil/Military Frequency Agreement (NJFA) and by ongoing agreements within the civil/military co-operation in Europe.
The European Common Allocation Table has been used by CEPT Administrations as the basis for development of National Frequency Allocation and Utilisation tables. The ERO has developed an on-line information system (ERO Frequency Information System EFIS) to provide easy access for industry and users to frequency utilisation information across ultimately all 46 CEPT countries in Europe. This system also contains documentation and hyperlinks related to the use of frequency spectrum.
Contact with other organisations is normally established via participation of those organisations in the work of the working groups or by having special meetings with these organisations. However, in some cases, the necessary coordination of activities between the ECC and other organisations is effected by means of Memoranda of Understanding or Letters of Understanding. MoU’s have been agreed with APT, ATCM, ATU and ETSI and with the Commission of the European Communities. In these MoU’s the cooperation arrangements between the ECC and the other organisations are specified.
Within the MoU with ETSI procedures are agreed to work together closely in the development of standards for systems or equipment on the one hand and the harmonisation of frequency bands and regulatory requirements for the use of these systems or equipment on the other hand.
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.