addressed to His Excellency Mr. Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania
ANCOM – to whom it might concern
European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications, Content and Technology Networks (DG-CONNECT) – Mr Roberto Viola, Director-General
Mr. President of Romania,
ANISP, the oldest and most representative professional association of providers of electronic communications networks and services in Romania, noted with deep dismay the almost successful attempt to hijack the decision-making act within ANCOM – the only autonomous authority for administration and regulation of electronic communications and postal services in our country.
Orchestrated by a group of 6 deputies during the extraordinary parliamentary session in August this year, taking advantage of the fact that most companies operating on the electronic communications market were on vacation, the legislative initiative aiming to change ANCOM’s governance model was approved by the Romanian Parliament in emergency procedure (?!), without conducting any prior public consultation – as required by Law no. 52/2003 on decision-making transparency in public administration.
The draft law thus approved, entitled “legislative proposal for amending and supplementing the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 22/2009 on the establishment of the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications ”, despite the fact that it received a “NEGATIVE Opinion” from the Economic and Social Council (nota bene), was nevertheless sent for promulgation by the Romanian Senate (decision chamber) bearing the number L562/2020.
We would like to emphasize from the very beginning that, through the changes it brings to the management and decision-making system within ANCOM, the above-mentioned bill violates not only the principles and good operating practices of the European Union, but even violates the Community law in the field of electronic communications.
The main changes brought to ANCOM’s governance model, criticized by us, are:
However, these legislative proposals to modify the current system of organization and decision-making within ANCOM, are flagrantly contrary to the provisions of Directive 2009/140/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the establishment of a General Framework on Electronic Communications:
“The independence of the national regulatory authorities should be strengthened in order to ensure a more effective application of the regulatory framework and to increase their authority and the predictability of their decisions. To this end, express provision should be made in national law to ensure that, in the exercise of its tasks, a national regulatory authority responsible for ex-ante market regulation or for resolution of disputes between undertakings is protected against external intervention or political pressure liable to jeopardise its independent assessment of matters coming before it. Such outside influence makes a national legislative body unsuited to act as a national regulatory authority under the regulatory framework. For that purpose, rules should be laid down at the outset regarding the grounds for the dismissal of the head of the national regulatory authority in order to remove any reasonable doubt as to the neutrality of that body and its imperviousness to external factors. It is important that national regulatory authorities responsible for ex-ante market regulation should have their own budget allowing them, in particular, to recruit a sufficient number of qualified staff. In order to ensure transparency, this budget should be published annually.” [Recital # 13]
“Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraphs 4 and 5, national regulatory authorities responsible for ex-ante market regulation or for the resolution of disputes between undertakings in accordance with Article 20 or 21 of this Directive shall act independently and shall not seek or take instructions from any other body in relation to the exercise of these tasks assigned to them under national law implementing Community law…” [Pct. 3, letter (b) 3a)].
Last but not least, the legislative proposals in question will make the decision-making mechanisms more difficult and will burden the ANCOM budget, favoring the political class – which will be able to appoint new members in well-paid positions from taxpayers’ money – evident from the speed with which the project was adopted by Parliament, as opposed to the much-needed legislative projects that have been dragging on for years.
Considering all the above, but also the criticisms formulated towards this draft law by the Economic and Social Council in its Negative Opinion no. 7903 of August 27, 2020 (to which we agree without reservations):
we kindly ask you, Mr. President of Romania, not to promulgate the draft law L562/2020 and to send it back to the Parliament for reconsideration, as well as in general – to use all the legal means available to the President of Romania (including Constitutional cross-check) to prevent the adoption of such provisions with a negative impact on the electronic communications ecosystem.
the National Association of Internet Service Providers in Romania
Pursuant to art. 92 and the following from GEO no. 111/2011 and art. 61, f) of GEO no. 22/2009, ANISP requested ANCOM to identify the relevant market for IP peering interconnection, to carry out a market analysis in order to determine the competitive situation and to impose specific obligations on providers of electronic communications networks and services having significant market power, in order to address existing deficiencies in local IP interconnections (within Romania).
The local IP interconnections of operators having obvious significant market power do not have sufficient capacity to provide quality inter-network services with other operators within the country – fact which causes profoundly negative effects, especially during the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – when a series of services and applications for remote work / teleconferencing / remote assistance over the Internet – have malfunctioned.
While in 2009 the European Commission rejected such a regulation initiated by the competent authority of Poland, based on considerations such as the equivalence of IP peering services with those of IP transit – a true finding, to some extent, for older Internet-based applications, such as such as FTP and / or HTTP browsing – in 2020 the nature of Internet-based applications has changed and small variations in service quality (QoS) and network latency can lead to malfunctions of these applications (teleconferencing, remote work, applications that require real-time reactions). This is, moreover, one of the reasons that made 5G technology necessary – as 4G technology had a latency considered too high for the needs of the present and of the future.
On April 29, 2020, the National Association of Internet Service Providers in Romania (ANISP) sent the Government, through Mr. Dragoș Cosmin Lucian Preda, State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications (MTIC), ANISP’s opening to participate to the process of identifying mechanisms to ensure the development of online education for all categories of students, given the state of emergency established by Decree no. 195/2020, as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.
ANISP can provide the necessary space for meetings with respect to the safety distance imposed by the circumstances – in case of discussions with physical presence; simultaneously being able to provide a virtual space for remote video conferencing.
Competition Council communique of February 2, 2020:
The Competition Council sanctioned Netcity Telecom SRL (formerly Netcity Telecom SA) with a fine of 2,183,552 lei (approximately 460,000 euros) for abuse of dominant position.
Netcity Telecom SRL is the concessionaire of the Netcity network, having as responsibilities the design, building and operating the underground telecommunications infrastructure of the Bucharest Municipality, with the main purpose of hosting the electronic communications networks previously installed, mainly, on the elecricity poles in the capital city. Netcity Telecom SRL holds a monopoly position, having, by means of a concession contract, the exclusive and unrestricted right to implement and manage the Netcity network, for a period of 49 years. “Netcity” is a support for communications networks and must be made available to all telecom operators who want to provide services in Bucharest, in an equal, transparent and non-discriminatory manner. The competition authority found that, during the period 2010-2019, the Netcity network concessionaire abused its dominant position by imposing inequitable conditions regarding:
“As we have said on other occasions, we do not dispute the usefulness of the project, which aims both to increase the quality of data transmission services and to improve the visual aspect of the city, but it must comply with the competition rules so that the costs incurred by operators (and transferred to consumers) should not be unfair. A large company, which holds a monopoly position, must have a fair behavior towards its partners and create clear, transparent and reasonable procedures for access conditions ”, said Bogdan Chiriţoiu, President of the Competition Council.
Netcity Telecom SRL admitted the offense and received a 15% reduction in the fine.
In the same investigation, the Competition Council found that, between Nov 26, 2013 – Oct 20, 2016, the administration of the Municipality of Bucharest, through the General Mayor and the General Council of the Municipality of Bucharest, did not take the necessary steps in the process of regulating the conditions to access the Netcity infrastructure. In this way (by not acting), the Bucharest City Hall violated the competition regulations (art.8 of the Competition Law), favoring the continuation of the abuse of Netcity Telecom’s dominant position until 2016, when the provisions regarding the physical infrastructure regime of electronic communications networks, as well as those regarding the establishment of measures to reduce the cost of installing electronic communications networks (Law no. 159/2016), entered into force.
“Given that at present, in several cities of the country there are similar projects for the development of similar networks, the conclusions in this case represent a warning for all involved actors, companies and mayors”, added the President of the Council competition. We recall the investigation into a possible abuse of Netcity’s dominant position was initiated in 2016, at the Ines Group SRL complaint, and was connected with the investigation initiated in April 2019, at the Interlan Internet Exchange SRL complaint. Currently, Netcity Telecom is part of a group of five companies active in the field of energy infrastructure and telecommunications. At the end of the first semester of 2019, Netcity’s infrastructure included 1,520 kilometers of underground fiber optic network, to which 20,300 buildings are connected. Of the total, 560 kilometers of network were built by Netcity Telecom from the beginning of 2018 until the end of June 2019, infrastructure with 7,500 buildings connected. At present, the works continue, mainly on the secondary streets.
ANISP also recalls the investigation of the Competition Council has been requested by the business environment since the beginning of the Netcity project, but the Council did not take the necessary steps until after being compelled by a court, following the complaint of Ines Group SRL (member in ANISP Board of Directors) in file 4890/2/2015, finalized with the civil sentence no 3489 / 23.12.2015.
ANISP (National Association of Internet and Electronic Communications Service Providers in Romania) announces its intention to request the Competition Council to start investigating a possible abuse of a dominant position by RCS-RDS, since the company refuses to accept interconnecting its IP network (IP peering) under fair conditions.
Interconnection is very important so that users of different networks can communicate with each other in optimal conditions, having maximum availability services, minimum access delay and without having national traffic transiting networks outside the country. When a direct interconnection is not available, a server – for example www.your-city-hall.com hosted on Operator A’s network could be accessed significantly harder, sometimes even inaccessible for subscribers of Operator B. Although in the past indirect interconnection (transit of 3rd party networks often outside the country) was very much used, the tendency of the Information Society to move all applications over the Internet makes this solution no longer viable, becoming a drawback for the development of e- government.
Currently it is very important to have the interconnection point as close as possible to the traffic’s origin and destination, as well as to correctly size the interconnection capacity. Otherwise, Internet services involving inter-network traffic will be of poor quality: as some of the traffic will traverse intermediary networks, the transfer speed will be lower, access time will be higher, the number of interruptions/failures will increase and last but not least – there will be an increase in data security breaches.
Unfortunately, RCS-RDS – the dominant player in the local cable TV and fixed internet market, with a market share estimated by the ANCOM (the regulatory authority) at over 50% of the total number of subscribers – chooses to not participate in Romanian Internet eXchange points so that the Internet traffic changed with some Romanian operators travels through Frankfurt or Budapest, etc. Alternatively, RCS-RDS requires operators who want interconnection in Romania to buy such services at an unjustified high price – taking advantage of the fact that tariffs for this kind of interconnection are not regulated – without offering the interconnection partners similar terms based on reciprocity.
For example – in the case of telephony services – the operators pay each other tariffs regulated by ANCOM when making inter-network calls, but in the case of Internet traffic a dominant operator may require any tariff for interconnection and may refuse to pay a symmetrical tariff, although it thus adversely affects its own subscribers, which will not be able to optimally access the services and content hosted in networks not directly interconnected.
The IP peering brings obvious benefits in terms of both quality and reduced costs for Internet traffic, thus refusing to make such interconnections – either explicitly or by setting cost barriers – is clearly an anti-competitive practice, meant to prevent the development of competing networks / services.
„MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS” MAGAZINE CELEBRATES 21 YEARS SINCE ITS LAUNCH & 16 YEARS OF GALA AWARDS IN ROMANIA.
The GOLDEN DAY of TELECOMS 2019 & THE NIGHT OF CELEBRATION & REPUTATION
The flagship debate will be run around the latest concepts and trends of national and global ICT & converged industries. The GALA will attract, both for the Debates and the Awards Ceremony, the elite business leaders, influential thinkers, decision makers and executives from Romania and our SEE region. MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS GALA 2019 rewards both the individuals and companies with great achievements developing new and innovative services that are improving our lives with smarter solutions. The great competition is open to all entities: operators, carriers, content providers or companies developing & using digital services are invited to apply to the national Awards. Let’s celebrate the greatest performance on the market, featuring an artistic Show & VIP Dinner Party-the greatest annual opportunity to network with the most important business leaders and executives.
PRELIMINARY AGENDA – 9 December 2019, Radisson Blu Hotel, Atlas Hall
13:30 – 14:00 Welcome Coffee & Registration
14:00 – 16:30 Plenary Session – ROMANIAN TELECOM REPORT 2019
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION & BIG PLAYERS’ MAIN CHALLENGES
• Digital Transformation Strategy for Mobile Economy fuelled by Cloud Computing, Big Data, AI, Machine Learning, IoT & finally 5G
Lucian BODE (tbc), Minister, MTIC
Alexandru PETRESCU, Former-Minister, MCSI
Marian MURGULEȚ, Chief Information Officer, GOVERNMENT
Bogdan IANA, VicePresident, ANCOM
Dragoș REBEGEA, Country Manager, ERICSSON
Valentin POPOVICIU, Vice President, RCS&RDS
Florin POPA, Business-to-Business Director, ORANGE
Natalia CHIRIŢESCU, Director Large Corporates, VODAFONE
Marian GHEORGHE, Director ICT & Key Accounts, TELEKOM
Dan OSTAHIE, CEO, ALTEX & MEDIA GALAXY
16:30 – 18:15 Plenary Session – MANIFEST 4 DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
HOW TO DIGITALISE ROMANIA IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?
• Where are we in the European Digital Single market? The real level of developing in smart manufacturing & smart services? How to monetize the DT in AGRO, AUTO, BANKS, EDUCATION, CONSTRUCTION, FMCG, HEALTH, MANUFACTURING, REAL ESTATE, and UTILITIES?
• How to e-manage RPA | EDGE | AI | AR | VR | Machine Learning |BI | BA?
Alexandra CIORTEA, Data & AI CTO, MICROSOFT ROMANIA
Marian POPA, CEO, DB GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY
Nicoleta MACOVEI, CEO, S&T Romania
Gorkem TURSUCU, CEO, TOTALSOFT
Tiberiu GÎNDU, Executive Director, ANISP
Ion VACIU Moderator – President |ICT CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL
18:45 – 19:00 Welcome drink & Registration
19:00 – 21:30 GALA AWARDS CEREMONY
TOP RECOGNITION FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
GALA DINNER & VIP NETWORKING
MIKE GODOROJA CONCERT
WINNERS GROUP PHOTO SESSION
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org – Mobile: +40723.319.678
Participation is based on confirmation from the organizers!
ANISP welcomes cancellation of provisions most harmful to the electronic communications field, adopted by articles 77 and respectively 85 of GEO 114/2018.
Thus, through GEO 54/2019 the radio spectrum over taxation was eliminated, the principle of computing the ANCOM monitoring fee based on the actual needs (strictly to cover the Authority’s administrative expenses) was reinstated and the penalty of up to 10% of the turnover – for the suppliers which conclude contracts for installation, maintenance, replacement of electronic communications networks and infrastructure elements or which perform access works on properties, without the right of access or without a building permit – was suspended again until March 15, 2020.
Articles 77 and 85 of GEO 114/2018 remain unfortunate examples of profoundly wrong regulation, made with unjustified haste, without consulting the social partners; regulations that had negative effects on economic and social development and which have unnecessarily consumed the resources of the government, the regulatory authority as well as the operators.
We would like to point out that suspending the application of penalties up to 10% of the turnover for the suppliers that conclude contracts to install networks or perform access works on properties, without the right of access or lack of building permit is NOT a solution; these special sanctions for telecommunications must be canceled, as there are already provisions generally applicable in the legislation on the discipline in constructions.
On March 19, 2019, we wrote about Timişoara City Hall starting cutting aerial communications cables overnight, affecting several networks and users of communications services, including some educational institutions precisely during the simulation for the Baccalaureate exam and the registration for the preparatory class. Photo: https://www.opiniatimisoarei.ro
ANISP reiterated on that occasion that it supports the development of underground networks and the migration of aerial cables into dedicated subterranean ducts (in urban areas), but also that the migration of communication infrastructure should not be done in a hastily, recklessly, without an action plan which to take into account the real life situation.
We are glad that after the events of March 2019, the Timișoara City Hall chose to collaborate more closely with telecommunication operators in order to avoid service interruptions. Thus, on May 29, 2019 a meeting was held, attended by representatives of the municipality headed by the mayor, officials of the regulatory authority (ANCOM), representatives of telecom operators and of infrastructure companies.
During this session, an action plan agreed with the majority of participants was established. It provides for new actions, terms and conditions (eg. to provide operators with existing underground infrastructure plans, migration of central district cables by 30.06.2019 to the underground infrastructure belonging to operators and to municipality, subject to the existence of necessary capacity; and potential extension of this deadline, should new infrastructure needs being built).
The City Hall also took note that allegations regarding telecommunications operators predominantly having illegal aerial networks are false: there exist construction permits and lease agreements with the infrastructure holders.
We appreciate the openness shown by the local authorities, but we believe that such cooperation should have been considered from start – with multiple benefits for all parties involved: there would have been no interrupted communications services, no unjustified additional costs for operators and the city hall would have seen its objectives achieved faster. We encourage central and local authorities everywhere not to go unilaterally to hasty actions and to show openness, to optimally solve the citizen’s and industry’s problems.
Today, May 14th, 2019, FiberNET – a member of the UCS group, mostly focused on communications services – joined ANISP.
The FiberNET portfolio has been expanding permanently, thus the company is currently providing the following products and services:
• High speed and capacity data transmissions;
• Structured cabling and Data Center infrastructure;
• Communication and Security Systems.
FiberNET offers companies and organizations interested in interconnecting remote locations a full range of services, including:
• design of fiber optic transmission networks;
• execution & installation of aerial and underground fiber optic networks;
• interconnection solutions through its own metropolitan network;
• fiber optic maintenance services.
The interconnection solutions provided through the metropolitan network use an infrastructure that ensures points of presence in virtually all areas of Bucharest. Transmissions are provided by Alcatel-Lucent or ADVA DWDM equipment from the WaveStar and Metropolis series, with SDH multiplexing and transport capacity of 2 Mbps-2.5 Gbps, ETH 100 GbE or FC 16GbE.
The network thus implemented allows centralized management, providing an SLA of 99.9%. The topology of the network is redundant, including at the operating center level, and allows for the provision of various services, from complex and protected multi-location topology, to simple, point-to-point unprotected links, of various capacity. One can also rent “dark-fiber” services.
The company operates its own FO network with virtually complete coverage of Bucharest and has presence across the country through its partners. In the capital city the network is conceived as a multi-ring structure that provides redundancy at physical level. More than 85% of all cables are currently underground, the work of migrating the aerial routes into underground infrastructure being a permanent ongoing process.
In connection with several incidents where certain local authorities started decommissioning aerial networks before the subterranean alternative was available, ANCOM issued the following statement:
“It is worrying that although an effective legislative instrument for the development of the communications infrastructure, namely Law no. 159/2016 on the physical infrastructure of electronic communications networks, was created with sustained efforts, we find ourselves today in critical situations where users no longer have access to telephony or internet services due to forced interventions. I reiterate that both the public authorities and the communications operators have at their disposal the legal framework within which they act and I urge them to understand and to translate into practice their legal rights and obligations . ANCOM will continue to get involved in ensuring the good functioning of the market, we will continue to issue the necessary secondary legislation and inform all the actors involved in its application, “said Sorin Grindeanu, president of ANCOM.
Applying the Infrastructure Law
In line with the European regulatory framework for electronic communications, the provision of electronic communications networks is freely available on the basis of the general authorization regime.
In cases where public authorities have developed, either individually or in public-private partnerships, underground infrastructure for the installation of electronic communications networks, the migration of communication networks to the underground infrastructure must be done according to a schedule agreed between operators and local authorities based on a resettlement plan which should be considered when developing the underground infrastructure, thus allowing a realistic scheduling of the necessary activities for migrating the networks.
In situations where there is no underground alternative that could be used by the providers of electronic communications networks for the underground migration of installed aerial networks, ANCOM encourages and supports, through its legal instruments, the active involvement of local authorities in building these alternative underground infrastructures, measures that could ensure both the community’s urban planning objectives and the possibility of carrying out activities that could generate revenues to the local budget. The activities related to the underground migration of an aerial electronic communications network are not achieved by reuse of existing cables and equipment, it requires good planning, assuming the installation of a totally new network. They include, besides the installation works for which the building permit is required, the design of both the physical infrastructure (piping, drawing rooms) and the actual network of electronic communications (cables, equipment), the evaluation and acquisition of the the necessary infrastructure and network, their transport and installation in the field, the carrying out of tests and measurements, and finally the commissioning of the new underground network segment, prior to the decommissioning of the aerial network, in order to preserve the continuity of services.
“Measures to dismantle the aerial networks, with the interruption of the provision of communications services to end-users, can not, in our opinion, constitute a sustainable approach, including in relation to the major interests of local communities. We must remember that easy access to electronic communications is the basis of all sectors of a modern and innovative economy, contributing to the improvement of the quality of public services, especially education, health or local government. We, at ANCOM, have expressed our willingness to mediate a dialogue between local authorities and operators in order to find the right solutions for both parties, so the impact of network transition to underground infrastructure is minimal on end-users”, the ANCOM’s president added.
It is especially important that there is a certain balance between the application of urban planning rules and the promotion of competition, to support the development of new physical infrastructure for electronic communications networks and services and, at the same time, to ensure the observance of urban development regulations.
ANCOM considers the collaboration between local public authorities and the providers of electronic communications networks as being useful and absolutely necessary, in order to develop the underground infrastructures on areas as extended as possible within the municipalities and towns, as well as to ensure the easiest migration of the aerial networks to underground ducts, in order to improve the urban aspect, to stimulate the socioeconomic development and to increase the citizens’ quality of life.
Law no. 159/2016 on the Physical Infrastructure Regime of Electronic Communications Networks stipulates that the entities exercising the right of administration over the public property, including the authorities of the central or local public administration, have the obligation to publish the conditions for access to these properties, including the maximum tariffs be perceived to providers of electronic communications networks for this access. Detailed information on the provisions of the Infrastructure Law, as well as ANCOM’s decision on the maximum access charges on public property, approvals and approvals issued for infrastructure networks developed by some local authorities, conditions for access to public property of the state or of the administrative-territorial units and many other specific information is available on ANCOM’s website here .