CEPT – The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations
The CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) works in the postal sector, but above all in electronic communications through its "ECC" (Electronics Communications Committee). It draws up priorities and objectives which are common to its members throughout Europe, in particular concerning the use of the radiofrequency spectrum. It coordinates and defends, often successfully, the joint European proposals within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in unison with other similar regional organisations.
OFCOM and the CEPT
Switzerland takes an active part in the activities of the CEPT. It is represented by the national postal regulator PostReg in the committee dealing with postal matters, the CERP, and by OFCOM in the ECC (Electronic Communications Committee) and in its various working groups.
The ECC develops activities related to electronic communications. It contributes to forging a long-term vision of the regulatory future, taking into consideration the evolution of the technologies which are placed on the market. It seeks to harmonise the use of scarce resources (radiocommunications frequencies, orbital satellite positions and addressing resources) in Europe and to develop and defend the positions of the CEPT in international conferences such as the World Radiocommunication Conference of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). These promote harmonisation and utilisation of frequencies in Europe and influence the national frequency allocation plans. This is why the CEPT and each of its members, including Switzerland, are particularly active in it, as well as in the World Telecommunications Development Conferences, also organised by the ITU.
Switzerland's participation in the CEPT and its committees is considerable, as this is where joint European positions are prepared, for example with regard to the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference (PP). Preparation and coordination of the elections to the PP with a view to promote European candidates are tasks performed by the CEPT through its working group on ITU affairs (COM-ITU). Sweden chaired this group from 2007 to 2012. This "COM-ITU" is also responsible for preparing and coordinating the European position to be defended within the ITU and its PP.
Structure of the CEPT and ECC
The changes in telecommunications market and European Union made reform of the CEPT necessary in 2001 on legal, financial and structural aspects. This reform does not affect postal activities, but since then a single committee, the "ECC – Electronic Communications Committee", has been dealing with radiocommunications and telecommunications issues. This committee is based on a single bureau, the ECO (European Communications Office), which is the result of a merger of the former ETO (European Telecommunications Office) and the ERO (European Radiocommunications Office). Chairmanship of CEPT is ensured by the three chairs of the three committees (ECC, CERP and COM-ITU).
This reorganisation gave the opportunity to introduce a political agenda, enabling the CEPT to play a more active role as a planning and decision-making forum with regard to the ITU and, in particular, its plenipotentiary conference.
The CEPT has focused more on regulation and the definition of more political orientations. The new states of central and eastern Europe have joined, some of them before they joined the European Union. This expansion to the east confirms the pan-European vocation of the CEPT.