The 14th meeting of IRB EWG took place in Paris, France on 10-11 March 2023. Based on MoU between EaPeReg and BEREC, which has set a special background for cooperation between the two parties ensuring easier and faster access to the EU best practices on electronic communications market regulations, IRB EWG of EaPeReg organizes one of its 2 annual meetings in parallel with one the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) meetings, which facilitates in-person meeting with co-chairs of BEREC working groups relevant for IRB EWG activities, namely Regulatory Framework working group (RF) and Fixed Network Evolution working group (FNE).
The Agenda of the meeting was structured to cover both IRB work streams, namely:
1. promotion of the independent NRA model and
2. broadband network development.
The aim of the meeting was to provide a comprehensive overview of the most relevant updates in EaP and EU.
During the first day of the meeting, the representatives from EC (DG CONNECT team who worked on the EC proposal for the Gigabit Infrastructure Act(GIA team) presented the EC proposal for GIA as an instrument to support EU MS in the development of the very high-capacity networks in line with EU Digital targets for 2030.
On the independence of NRAs topics, BEREC representatives (co-chairs of the Regulatory Framework working group) presented the outcomes of the BEREC study which concluded with a set of future-looking recommendations able to address the accelerating changes in the digital sector. Since the topic of independence is of high importance for regulators from EaP countries, the detailed presentation of the report was highly appreciated and welcomed.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to agreeing on the work and development of the deliverables that are foreseen to be developed by IRB with the technical assistance of EU4DIGITAL facility.
The discussions were focused on the main 3 deliverables:
1. Report reflecting the situation of the broadband coverage in EaP. On this one, the countries still have to review the aggregated data after the 3 rounds of data collection to clarify the remaining inconsistencies.
2. Monitoring of the developments in each country on both IRB topics (independence of NRA and broadband).
3. Launch of broadband Market Analysis in EaP region. Following the discussions on this topic, it was concluded that only 3 EaP countries can be engaged in the Market Analysis, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Following the tradition of IRB EWG meetings, the 14th IRB meeting was concluded with study cases of EU and EaP countries. For this meeting, the selected topic was market analysis of broadband markets.