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 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 communications sector and information society in Lithuania.
The European Union (EU)
RRT representatives participate in the activities of the Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society and the Working Party on Postal Services of the Council of the European Union as well as the in the following committees and working groups of the Commission of the European Communities: the Communications Committee, the Radio Spectrum Committee, the Radio Spectrum Policy Group,the Telecommunications Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance (TCAM) Committee; the 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 working groups play an important role in assessing the implementation of the legal acts of the European Union, in evaluating the market situation, as well as in preparing new regulatory measures and documents in the European Union.
Within the European Union, RRT representatives are also engaged in the activities of:
• the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)
• the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).
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. padaryti linką
Cooperation with the national regulatory institutions
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) provides a platform for multilateral cooperation of the European Union national regulatory authorities of electronic communications, while the Independent Regulators Group (IRG) covers national regulatory authorities of the European Union and European Free Trade Association’s countries as well as of countries seeking EU membership.
BEREC aims at developing cooperation among national regulatory authorities, and between national regulatory authorities and the Commission, so as to ensure the consistent application in all Member States of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services. BEREC is assisted by the office, providing professional and administrative support services to BEREC. BEREC importance lies in providing a platform for regulatory authorities to tackle issues of practical implementation of the EU directives with common efforts, to disseminate regulatory best practices, common approaches, methodologies or guidelines on the implementation of the EU regulatory framework, discuss and deliver opinions on the draft decisions, recommendations of the Commission, to share experience on promotion of competition on the market, protection of consumer interest and other areas. The issues under consideration comprise international roaming, next generation network regulation, cost methodologies for regulated electronic communications services, network neutrality, consumer protection, etc.
In the area of market analysis, carried out by the national regulatory authorities, the task of BEREC is to deliver opinions on draft measures concerning market definition, the designation of undertakings with significant market power and the imposition of remedies. In this way, consistently applying the rules, the regulators seek to ensure equal conditions for fair competition in the single telecommunications market, and competitiveness on the market leads to a wider choice, bringing greater benefits to consumers.
The European Regulators Group for postal services (ERGP) operates in the postal area. ERGP was established by a Commission Decision on 10 August 2010 and it is composed of the EU national regulatory authorities in the field of postal services, represented by heads of the authorities. With postal market liberalisation and full opening of the market to competition, it was necessary to strengthen coordination, cooperation and consultation among national postal regulatory authorities. With a view to disseminating best regulatory practices, ERGP has an important role in developing the single market for postal services and ensuring high quality consumer oriented postal services. ERGP deals with the issues of cost allocation methodology, universal service cost calculation, non-discriminatory access to postal network, end-user satisfaction and monitoring of the market. The establishment of ERGP is of importance for the development of the EU postal sector, aiming at modern and competitive postal sector services, facilitated by consistent application of the Postal Services Directive.
In 2013, RRT director Feliksas Dobrovolskis was elected as an incoming ERGP Chair 2015 and undertook the post of a ERGP Vice-chair in 2014.
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 dealt with at the 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),the Committee for ITU Policy (Com ITU) and their working groups. CEPT activities are coordinated by the permanent European Communications Office (ECO). CEPT comprises 48 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 a mandate 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 by developing and adopting the relevant decisions and recommendations.
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), the Committee for ITU Policy (Com ITU) and their working groups.
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 a 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 the principles of financing Internet access in the developing countries.
One of the final documents of the WSIS 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 an 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. In 2010, IGF was organised in Vilnius, Lithuania, focusing on the management of critical internet resources, access and diversity, security, openness, privacy, future (cloud) technologies, impact of internet governance on the internet development, assessment of internet governance.
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 in compiling regional tables of radio frequency allocations. ITU allocates radio frequency spectrum and 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 ITU Constitution as the supreme organ of ITU. The Conference sets general policies, necessary to meet the targets of the ITU, discusses ITU Council reports on the organization activities, adopts the organization’s budget taking into consideration the planned activities, demands and possibilities, sets the amount of contributions to the ITU budget, elects ITU Council, the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General and heads of the three sector bureaus, elects the members of the Radio Regulations Board (RRB), discusses and adopts proposals with regard to amendments of the ITU Constitution and Convention, and deals with other issues. During the Plenipotentiary Conference (PP) in 2006, for the first time the representative of Lithuania, Dr. Mindaugas Žilinskas, Director of the Radiocommunication Department of the Communications Regulatory Authority, was elected to the Radio Regulations Board for the period of four years. In 2009, dr. Mindaugas Žilinskas was elected RRB chairman and in the 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference, elected to the RRB for a second term (2011-2014).
World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) and Regional Radiocommunication Conferences (RRC), organised 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 are adopted. In line with the Radio Regulations, the National Radio Frequency Allocation Table is developed.
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 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.
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
The Universal Postal Union includes 192 member states and forms the largest network of postal services in the world, whose services may be used by all the residents of Lithuania. Membership in the UPU gives the possibility to participate in the global postal activities and form future trends of development. Lithuania has acceded to the UPU Convention and Regulations concerning letter-post and parcel-post services. During the UPU Congress in 2008, Lithuania was elected and in 2009-2012 was a member of UPU Council of Administration. The Council of Administration consists of 41 member countries and ensures the continuity of the UPU's work between Congresses, convened every four years, supervises UPU’s activities and studies regulatory, administrative, legislative and legal issues.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
After Lithuania became a 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 rapidly developed 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 allocating radio frequencies and their usage needs.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
Located in the United States of America, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization which performs the administration of 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 lot of attention to competition promotion in the area of Internet access, to consumers’ initiatives, and consensus. ICANN operates on the basis of private and public sector cooperation.
One of the forms of cooperation between ICANN and the public sector is the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), an advisory body to the Board of Directors. The main function of GAC is to advise ICANN on 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. Lithuania is represented by a RRT delegate in GAC.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
An important item on the World Trade Organization agenda is the establishment of a clear international regime for trade in services, including electronic communications services. International multilateral negotiations over electronic communications services are aimed at facilitating 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 agreements, develop a technology-neutral attitude 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 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.
International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE)
In 2008, RRT joined the INHOPE association. INHOPE has grown to a network of 46 Hotlines in 40 countries, mostly in the European Union. The aim of the hotline is to respond to reports of illegal or harmful content and/ or illegal activities on the internet. The reports are investigated and if the matter is found to be illegal, the information will be passed to the relevant law enforcement agencies or hotlines of the relevant countries, so that the illegal or harmful content is removed from publicly available internet sources as soon as possible.
In Lithuania, the hotline is accessible on the internet, one can report to the hotline by filling in a special form available on a website.
On the bilateral basis, the Communications Regulatory Authority mostly cooperates with the national communications and postal regulatory institutions of the Baltic and Nordic states. During regular meetings of the Baltic regulators, 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.
The Communications Regulatory Authority also cooperates, on a bilateral or multilateral basis, with other regulatory authorities in the field of radio frequencies coordination.
Updated on 2014-04-02back