With globalization processes, international cooperation becomes ever more important. In the dynamic European and international environment, the activities of the Communications Regulatory Authority require a harmonized and flexible attitude towards regulation of electronic communications. As Lithuania is a common structural part of the European Union and NATO, the need for standards, market regulation rules and coordination of different practices comes into existence. Participation in the activities of other international organizations also becomes ever more important. Active cooperation on the international arena creates preconditions for a more rapid development of the telecommunications sector and information society in Lithuania.
The European Union (EU)
RRT representatives participate in the activities of the following workgroups and committees: Telecommunications and Information Society Workgroup and Postal Services Workgroup of the Council of the European Union; Communications Committee, Radio Spectrum Committee, and Radio Spectrum Policy Group of the Commission of the European Communities; Telecommunications Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance (TCAM) Committee; Management Committee of the long-term program ”Safer Internet plus”; Committee for Application of Legal Acts Pertaining to the Development of the Internal Market of Community Postal Services and for Application of General Rules for Improvement of Quality of Services. Commission’s committees and workgroups play an important role in assessing the implementation of the normative legal acts of the European Union, in evaluating market situation, as well as in preparing new regulatory measures and documents of the informative character in the European Union.
Within the European Union, RRT representatives are also engaged in:
• the activities of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA);
• the activities of the Internet Informal Group, dealing with assigning Internet names and domains;
• meetings arranged by the European Commission with regard to spam, and elsewhere.
Information about public consultations in the European Union on improvement of electronic communications regulatory environment, new technologies and development of information society is available here.
Cooperation with the national regulatory institutions
On the multilateral basis, the Communications Regulatory Authority cooperates with national regulatory authorities of the European Union and European Free Trade Association’s countries by participating in the activities of the Independent Regulators Group (IRG).
ERG allows regulatory authorities to jointly deal with the issues on practical implementation of the European Union directives, debate EU Commission’s legal acts, put forward common proposals on the improvement of legal acts, share their experience in promotion of competitive markets, in protection of consumers’ interests, and other areas.
The Communications Regulatory Authority also cooperates, on the multilateral basis, with other regulatory authorities in the field of radio frequencies coordination.
On the bilateral basis, the Communications Regulatory Authority mostly cooperates with the national telecommunications and postal regulatory institutions of the Baltic States. During regular meetings, latest changes in the areas of telecommunications and post in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the issues of strategic importance – liberalization of electronic communications and postal markets, promotion of competition and new services, regulation of network interconnection - are discussed. The Communications Regulatory Authority exchanges experience with the national regulatory institutions of other countries in the areas of market supervision, implementation of the directive on radiocommunication and telecommunications terminal equipment, measurement of telecommunications service quality parameters, network and information security, and postal regulation.
Since 2006 the Communications Regulatory Authority has been actively involved in the projects, coordinated by the EU Commission, on provision of expert assistance to regulatory institutions of other countries.
European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)
At the European level, harmonized use of radio frequencies and other different radio spectrum management issues, telecommunications and postal regulation problems are being resolved at European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), namely through the activities of its committees, i.e. Electronic Communications Committee (ECC), European Committee for Postal Regulation (CERP) and their workgroups. CEPT activities are coordinated by the permanent European Radiocommunications Office (ERO). In the beginning of 2007, CEPT comprised 47 communications administrations of the European countries, i. e. almost all European countries belong to the organization. In the area of radiocommunication and telecommunications management, CEPT cooperates with the Commission of the European Communities when coordinating positions on different issues and performing expert research and feasibility studies, by order of the Commission of the European Communities, on the implementation of new technologies. CEPT strives to ensure compatibility and integrity of radiocommunication systems and telecommunications regulatory regime throughout Europe. CEPT takes up an active position in strategic planning and decision making when Europe prepares for International Telecommunication Union conferences, forms common positions of the European countries on the issues of electronic communications and postal regulation, technology and information society development at the global level. The Communications Regulatory Authority participates in the activities of CEPT Electronic Communications Committee (ECC), European Committee for Postal Regulation (CERP) and their workgroups as well as in the activities of the workgroup of the International Telecommunication Union (WG ITU).
The United Nations
The United Nations Organization was founded in 1945 for the purpose of ensuring peace through international cooperation and collective security. At present almost all the states of the world are members of the United Nations, including Lithuania. In the structure of the United Nations, apart from the main management bodies and programmes, there are also 15 independent organizations, called specialized agencies and functioning in specific areas, i.e. economic, social, cultural, etc. Some of the said agencies, including the International Telecommunications Union and the Universal Postal Union, were established even before the United Nations came into existence.
On 21 December 2001 the General Assembly of the United Nations, by its Resolution 56/183, supported the convocation of the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS). During the Summit, which was held in two stages, in December 2003 in Geneva and in November 2005 in Tunis, heads and ministers of countries and governments from around the world, heads of international organizations, representatives of business and general public searched for specific measures to develop strong foundation of the information society. Final documents of WSIS provided guidelines to promote information society development and overcome digital divide as well as set the principles for Internet governance and sponsor-paid Internet access in the developing countries.
One of the final documents of the Tunis stage, Tunis Agenda, also provided for the convocation of the Internet Governance Forum (hereinafter referred to IGF). The first IGF meeting with the aim of dealing with Internet governance, security, stability and development issues was held in 2006 in Greece. The Forum does not have any strict structure or advance agenda; it comes in the form of flexible multilateral discussions between public and private sectors. The issues of information society development, considered at the international level, go beyond jurisdiction of one country and are relevant to each member of the international community; therefore, Lithuania is considering arranging IGF in Vilnius in 2010.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Since the restoration of its independence and membership in the ITU in 1991, Lithuania has been actively participating in the ITU activities: performing international protection of radio stations, registering radio stations in the ITU register, harmonizing radio frequencies at the global level, coordinating the activities of radiocommunication services, and compiling regional tables on radio frequency use. ITU allocates radio frequency spectrum and determines positions of geo-stationary satellites, i.e. limited resources, without which no telecommunications activities are possible, as well as prepares plans for electronic communications and information society development. Thus, participation in the ITU activities is obligatory for a country, which is actively developing its electronic communications and information society and is creating knowledge-open information society.
Held every four years, the Plenipotentiary Conference (PP) is defined in the Articles of Incorporation of the ITU as the top body of ITU. The Conference sets general policies, necessary to meet the targets of the ITU, discusses ITU Council’s reports on the organization’s activities, adopts the organization’s budget taking into consideration the planned activities, needs and possibilities, sets the amount of contributions into the ITU budget, elects ITU Council, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and heads of the three sector bureaus, elects the members of the Radiocommunication Bureau, discusses and adopts proposals with regard to amendments of the Articles of Incorporation of the ITU and the Convention, concludes and revises agreements between the ITU and other international organizations, supervises agreements, concluded by the Council, and deals with other issues. During the Plenipotentiary Conference (PP) in 2006, for the first time the representative of Lithuania, Dr. M. Žilinskas, Director of Radiocommunication Department of the Communications Regulatory Authority, was elected to the Radiocommunication Bureau for the period of four years.
World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) and Regional Radiocommunication Conferences (RRC), arranged by the ITU, adopt decisions, pertaining to radiocommunication management, establish the main directions of and guidelines for radiocommunication development, and adopt recommendations which allow for more efficient exploitation of the radio spectrum. During the conferences, decisions on amending and supplementing articles of the Radio Regulations, issued by the ITU, are adopted.
The World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) defines targets and strategies of global and regional development of telecommunications taking in consideration network development and modernization, and resources necessary to increase telecommunications significance and to improve access to telecommunications services. Held every four years, WTDC summarizes the progress of telecommunications in the developing countries and promotes international cooperation and partnership in improvement of the telecommunications infrastructure.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU)
The Universal Postal Union includes 191 member states and forms the largest network of postal services in the world, whose services may be used by all the residents of Lithuania. During the UPU Congress in 2004, also attended by RRT representatives, the global postal strategy, i.e. the plan of postal industry activities for the coming four years, was approved. The following Congress was held in June – August 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya. Membership in the UPU gives the possibility to participate in the global postal activities and form further trends of development. Lithuania has adhered to the UPU Convention and Regulations concerning letter-post and parcel-post services.
Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
After Lithuania became NATO member, RRT representatives have been regularly participating in the NATO meetings on the issues of frequency use. Radio frequencies are not only limited intangible assets of each state, but also an important resource, used for ensuring national security. Latest telecommunications technologies are being developed in an especially rapid way and radio frequencies are intensively used for ensuring the state defense, therefore, it is necessary to consider the use of frequencies in the NATO member countries, as well as determine requirements which establish relations between military and civil administrations when distributing radio frequencies and their usage needs.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
Located in the United States of America, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization which performs the administration of the Internet protocol addresses, domain name system and Internet root servers. ICANN is responsible for ensuring smooth and stable operation of the Internet; it pays a good deal of attention to competition promotion in the area of Internet access, to consumers’ initiatives, and consensus. ICANN operates through cooperation between private and public sectors.
One of the forms of cooperation between ICANN and the public sector is the Governmental Advisory Committee (hereinafter referred to as GAC), an advisory body to the Board of Directors. The main function of GAC is to advise public policy and individual governments on relevant issues. Within ICANN, GAC strives to represent the entire diversity of views and opinions and establish general principles for administration of existing domain names and assignment of the new ones. It also seeks to draw attention to the cultural differences and protection of copyright and consumers’ interests. GAC is open to government representatives of all countries. Approximately 30 countries participate in the activities of GAC, so does Lithuania, represented by RRT delegate.
The World Trade Organization (WTO)
An important item on the World Trade Organization agenda is the establishment of a clear international regime for services trade, electronic communications services included. International multilateral negotiations over electronic communications services are aimed at simplifying service providers’ entry into the markets of the countries, not belonging to the WTO. The negotiations also extend the possibilities of the developing countries to participate in international treaties, develop a technologically neutral view of trade partners towards regulation of electronic communications services as well as determine a unified definition and classification of electronic communications services. Lithuania, like other 26 Member States of the European Union, is represented in the WTO negotiations by the EU Commission. In cooperation with other institutions, providers of electronic communications services and consumers’ organizations, RRT participates in forming the position for negotiations at the WTO.
Updated on 2011-01-21back