Select Examples of the Implementation of the EU Authorization Directive

This Practice Note describes how a number of European countries have implemented the EU Authorization Directive with respect to the adoption of general authorization regimes or open entry policies.  The practices of five countries are reviewed: Estonia, Iceland, Germany, Ireland, and Sweden.  In each country, the authorization requirements or open entry policies described below do not apply to service providers and network operators that exercise significant market power (SMP).  SMP service providers and network operators are subject to specific obligations imposed separately from the general authorization requirements.. Moreover, the authorization requirements or open entry policies described below do not apply to applications to use numbering resources or radio frequencies. 

Estonia

The provision of electronic communications services by non-dominant service providers and operators in Estonia is not subject to an authorization requirement.  A person who wishes to provide a communications service is subject to two general requirements, however. First, the person must be entered into the Estonian commercial register.  Second, the person (or undertaking) must submit a notice of commencement of activities to the Estonian Technical Surveillance Authority (ETSA). 

The form for the notice of commencement of activities is available on the website of the ETSA.  Undertakings submitting the notice must provide the following information: the name of the company and its business registry code; the name, addresses, and contact numbers of a contact person; the classification of the service; the geographical area of the service; and the estimated commencement date of the activity in question.

Once the ETSA receives the notice of commencement of activities, it registers the notice and sends a written confirmation to the undertaking within seven working days of the receipt of the notice.  The ETSA also sends the undertaking a description of its rights and obligations.  The undertaking has an ongoing responsibility to inform the ETSA in writing if any of its information (e.g. contact information) changes or if it terminates the provision of services.

Iceland

Undertakings must have a general authorization to operate electronic communications networks and to provide electronic communications services in Iceland.  Undertakings must submit a notification form to the Icelandic telecommunications regulator, the Post and Telecom Administration (PTA), prior to commencing operations.  This notification requires the undertaking to provide the following information: contact information for the undertaking; the name and contact information of a designated contact person within the undertaking’s organization; a description of the telecommunications operations of the undertaking; a description of the telecommunications infrastructure of the undertaking; and a listing of shareholders that hold a five percent or more interest in the undertaking.  The undertaking must also certify that it will operate its network and provide services in accordance with the conditions of the general authorization and with applicable regulations.

The Icelandic PTA registers the undertaking upon receiving its notification.  However, the PTA has the authority to request that an undertaking provide more information about relevant subject matters prior to registering an undertaking that has filed a notification.

Germany

Undertakings that wish to operate a public electronic communications network on a profit-oriented basis or that wish to provide publicly available electronic communications services on a profit-oriented basis are not required to obtain an authorization.  The German Telecommunications Act does require such undertakings to notify the Regulatory Authority of the commencement of such activities as soon as possible, however.  Undertakings are also required to notify the Regulatory Authority of any changes in the provision of any services or the operation of any networks and of the cessation of any such provision or operations. 

Notifications made to the Regulatory Authority must be in written form.  A notification must include: information required to identify the operator or services, including the company register number and its address; a brief description of the network or service being provided; and the date on which the provision of the services or operation of the network is due to begin.  The Regulatory Authority has prescribed and published a notification form which undertakings are required to use.

Upon request, the Regulatory Authority must confirm that a notification is complete and must certify that the undertaking that has submitted the notification has the rights granted by the Telecommunications Act.  This confirmation and certification must be provided within one week of the request.  The Regulatory Authority is also required to publish a list of undertakings that have provided notifications at regular intervals.

The Regulatory Authority has the ability to establish that an undertaking has ceased to engage in the provision of a service or the operation of a network under certain circumstances.  Specifically, where it is clear that the activity has ceased and where the Regulatory Authority has not been notified within six months of the cessation of activity, the Regulatory authority may establish ex officio that the activity has ceased to be provided.  This implies that the undertaking will no longer enjoy rights granted under the Telecommunications Act in respect of the activity that has been deemed to have ceased.

Ireland

The provision of electronic communications services and the operation of electronic communications networks are subject to a general authorization requirement in Ireland.  In order to receive a general authorization, undertakings must submit a Notification Form to ComReg, the Irish regulator.  The Notification Forms may be submitted electronically.  However, undertakings must also provide ComReg with a signed, hard copy of the Form.

The Notification Form requires the provision of the following information: the name and address of the notifying person; contact details; a description of the network or services being offered; the geographic region in which the network will be operated or where the services will be provided; whether the network or services are to be publicly available; and the estimated date of the commencement of the operation of the network or the provision of the services.  Undertakings are also required to identify connected (or related) companies that are also engaged in the operation of a network or the provision of a service.

If the Notification Form is correctly completed, then the undertaking is deemed to be authorized on the date on which ComReg received the Form.  If ComReg considers that a Notification Form has not been correctly completed, it may request further information from the undertaking that submitted the Form.  ComReg publishes details of the name, address, and telephone number of the notifying person on a register of undertakings that have notified ComReg, along with details of the intended network and/or service.  The contact details of the person responsible for communications with ComReg are not made publicly available.

In response to the receipt of a properly completed Notification Form, ComReg will issue a standard acknowledgement that confirms the receipt of the undertaking’s notification.  This standard acknowledgement takes the form of a declaration.  Where applicable, this declaration also details the circumstances under which the undertaking has the right to: apply for a consent to carry out road works from the relevant road authority; negotiate interconnection; and obtain access or interconnection to facilitate the exercise of those rights.  As a general rule, ComReg seeks to issue these declarations within one week of the receipt of a correctly completed Notification Form.

Sweden

Electronic communications service providers and network operators are not required to hold an authorization in Sweden.  However, service providers and operators must provide notification to the Swedish regulator, the National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) prior to commencing the provision of services or the operation of networks.  Service providers and operators who have provided such notification to the PTS must also immediately notify the PTS if they cease to provide services or operate a network.

Notification is provided to the PTS using a standard form available on the PTS’s website.  This form requires undertakings to provide the following information: details about the undertaking and its contact person; categorisation of the public communications networks being operated; categorisation of the public electronic communications services being offered; a description of the operations; the start date of the undertaking; and details concerning the revenue turnover of the undertaking.  The form must be signed by an authorized individual, and the original must be sent to the PTS.

The PTS provides a confirmation that the notification has been registered when all required details and documentation have been received.  The PTS de-registers a notification upon receiving a notification that a service provider or operator has ceased its operations.

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