The Israeli Ministry of Communications (MoC) has asked for assistance in the frame of a twinning project in order to strengthen its regulatory capacity to ensure the continued development of a competitive regulatory framework including the retail and wholesale markets and other forms of network access. This includes updating the regulatory framework to ensure fair and effective competition on the telecommunications market in Israel, based on EU Member States’ (MS) experience in the implementation of relevant EU legislation. By developing a more up-to-date regulatory system based on EU best practices, Israel will increase compliance with international requirements for the monitoring and control of the telecommunications market, which will contribute to improved market regulations and to fostering fair competition.
Despite Israel’s recent progress towards amendment of legislation and implementation of regulations and approximating the European regulatory framework, considerable differences remain between the EU and Israeli frameworks. The following points, among others, can be highlighted as missing links:
- In Israel, competition in the field of electronic communications has been mainly facility- based (which requires operators to have their own networks), while in the EU the Access Directive prescribes a system of mandatory wholesale access service provision by incumbent operators. This enables service providers to use the networks of incumbents, subject to a process of market analysis, thus enhancing competition at service level. Since 2014 Israel has done a considerable progress toward applying wholesale access service on behalf of the incumbent operators and such service is currently in place. However, some more regulations are required to extend and maintain a viable wholesale market;
- In the EU, certain retail markets were regulated at the beginning of the market liberalization process (particularly in relation to voice), but are increasingly deregulated. The EU regulatory approach requires the regulator to adopt the least intrusive form of regulation possible to achieve the required goals and objectives on the retail market. In most cases, wholesale regulation is sufficient to address retail problems and the emphasis remains on the need to address retail-level market failures:
- The EU Access Directive establishes regulations based on market reviews that determine the existence of market dominance or operators with “significant market power” (SMP) using criteria derived from Competition Law. In Israel, a formal requirement for market reviews and SMP as a necessary stage of applying regulatory obligations is not yet defined;
- Continuous market surveillance is not yet a strong element of the regulatory establishments in Israel, while the EU implements very effective and efficient market surveillance procedures and processes;
- Despite Israel having recently introduced a “uniform general license” scheme, a full general authorization regime is not yet implemented;
- In Europe, the Universal Service Directive prescribes a universal services obligation system characterized by the well-organized identification of the service providers who are required to provide nationwide services, thus avoiding market distortion. No such system currently exists in Israel, where instead the existing national market operators (Bezeq and HOT) are required to provide services and lay out telecommunication infrastructure anywhere in the country
- The “type approval of wireless equipment continue to be applied in Israel with regard to certain types of equipment, while the EU has implemented a fully liberal “self-declaration” regime since 1999. In Israel, since 2018 limited types of equipment continue to require a particular issuance on the basis of compliance with various standards, including those of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Drawing on the Italian, German and Latvia experience in implementing the European regulatory framework, the EU provided a 1.5 million Euro grant to Israel in order to support the implementation of the still missing links. In particular, the Twinning Project “Strengthening the regulatory capacity of Israel in the field of telecommunications, with a focus on service provision over networks owned and operated by others” aims to approximate Israel’s regulatory practices to EU legislation and best practices, where appropriate, through integration of the project results into national regulatory instruments.
During the Twinning Project, the Consortium experts will also support the Israeli partners in designing, providing training and awareness raising events, in order to enhance stakeholders’ engagement and participation.
The beneficiary institution of the project is the Ministry of Communications of Israel (MoC), which acts as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Israel. It is responsible for establishing telecommunication policy and regulations, implementing a policy of liberalization that focuses on increased competition in the telecommunication market for the benefit of all Israeli citizens. There are other bodies which can also be interested in the developments of the Twinning: the Second Authority for Television and Radio, and the Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting.
In order to support the Israeli MoC in the Twinning project a Consortium of three EU Member States (Italy, Germany and Latvia) have included several institutions with experience in different areas of telecommunications regulation:
The Member State Leading partner, the Italian “Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni” (AGCOM), is a convergent National Regulatory Authority created in 1997 as a body in charge of regulating and monitoring each sector of the communications market (television, radio, fixed and mobile telecommunications operators, Internet and press, postal services).
The Italian Communication Regulatory Authority is an independent body, established by Law n. 249 of 31 July 1997. Independence and autonomy constitute their landmark aspects featuring both its activity and its decision-making. The Italian legislator choose to grant to a single body both regulatory and supervisory functions in the telecommunications, audio-visual as well as in the press and publishing sectors, thus making AGCOM a convergent authority.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is the German government body responsible for framing telecommunication policies in Germany and transposing the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications into national law. Furthermore, its European policy department covers all areas concerning the harmonization of national with European legislation in Germany. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy entrusts BNetzA fort the implementation of the Twinning.
The Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (BNetzA) is an independent higher federal authority in the scope of business of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. It superseded the former Federal Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and Federal Office for Posts and Telecommunications in1998. Today, about 2900 people are working in the Agency at its headquarters in Bonn, Berlin and Mainz and around 45 regional offices dispersed over the whole country.
Sabiedrisko Pakalpojumu Regulēšanas Komisija (SPRK), the Latvian Public Utilities Commission, is an independent multi-sectoral regulatory authority with responsibilities in areas of electronic communications, post, energy, and municipal services. It has been established in 2001 by the umbrella law On Regulators of Public Utilities. The SPRK is run by a Board of five members which are appointed by the Saeima (Parliament).
THE TWINNING IS FOCUSED ON THREE MAIN COMPONENTS:
- Component 1: Improved procedures for regulating service provision over networks owned and operated by others are proposed and ready for implementation. This component will cover several sectors of telecommunications (in Europe “electronic communications”) and in particular will cover issues as: wholesale market for electronic communication networks, price control, infrastructure sharing, Reference Interconnection Offer and consumer protection.
- Component 2: A broad market surveillance system is developed in order to frequently and regularly check the implementation of the licensing conditions covering all components of the electronic communications market. This component will cover several sectors of telecommunications (in Europe “electronic communications“) and will in particular cover issues as: enforcement procedures for market surveillance, analysis of the electronic communication market, authorization scheme, and equipment approval regime issues.
- Component 3: The legislative framework and regulatory capacity are improved in accordance with EU MS best practices and with the review of the EU framework in the telecom and audiovisual sectors. This component will cover, in a convergent approach, the sectors of telecommunications (in Europe “electronic communications“) and audiovisual and will try to tackle the challenges posed by the evolution of the market to the regulators of the communications sector in the world.
The website www.TwinningMocIsrael.eu shows documents, information and visibility material of the project.
פרוייקט תאומות בנושא "חיזוק היכולת הרגולטורית של ישראל בתחום התקשורת בדגש על אספקת שירות באמצעות רשתות בבעלות ובאחריות אחרים"
במסגרת הסכם שיתוף הפעולה בין האיחוד האירופי וישראל, מקצה האיחוד 1.5 מיליון יורו לטובת פרוייקט תאומות (twinning) בין משרד התקשורת הישראלי לרשויות התקשורת באיטליה, גרמניה, ולטביה. מטרת הפרוייקט היא לחזק את היכולת הרגולטורית של המשרד ולסייע בהמשך פיתוח מסגרת רגולטורית מעודדת תחרות, בדגש על אתגרים הכרוכים בשימוש ברשתות בבעלות אחרים. הפרוייקט יאפשר לעדכן ולפתח את המסגרת הרגולטורית לטובת קידום אפקטיבי של תחרות שוויונית ויעדים משקיים על בסיס הניסיון, הידע והמומחיות שהצטברה בגופי הרגולציה במדינות השותפות בפרוייקט ובעולם בכלל.
הפרוייקט יעסוק בשלושה צירים מרכזיים:
הטמעת והתאמת הניסיון האירופי לטובת שיפור הרגולציה המאפשרת אספקת שירות על גבי רשת של אחר בהיבטים של ניתוח שווקים, הבטחת גישה שוויונית לרשת ומניעת אי אפלייה, אכיפה אפקטיבית, ועוד.
שיפור וייעול מסגרות הרישוי השונות בתחום התקשורת, והתאמת כלי הפיקוח והאכיפה בהתאם לצרכים ולאופי הפעילות.
התאמת המסגרת החקיקתית בישראל לאור הרגולציה והניסיון האירופאי, לאור האתגרים הכרוכים בהתפתחויות בשוק התקשורת ובשוק השידורים.