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. It defines priorities and objectives common to its members from all over Europe and coordinates and defends common European proposals within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in liaison with other similar regional organisations.
The CEPT conducts its work through three autonomous committees: ECC, ComITU and CERP. The Presidents of these distinct committees constitute the presidency of the organisation, supported by the central council, the ECO.
Switzerland takes an active part in the activities of the CEPT: it is represented by OFCOM within the CERP and its various working groups dealing with postal issues, and also by OFCOM in the ECC (Electronic Communications Committee) and in its various working groups.
The ECC develops activities in relation to electronic communications. It contributes to forging a forward-looking vision of the regulatory future, taking account of the evolution of the technologies placed on the market. It ensures harmonisation of the use of scarce resources in Europe (radiocommunications frequencies, orbital satellite positions and addressing resources) and the development and defence of the positions of the CEPT in international conferences such as the World Radiocommunication Conference of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). The latter support harmonisation and the use of frequencies in Europe and influence national frequency allocation plans. This is why the CEPT and each of its members, including Switzerland, are especially active in it, and in the global conference on telecommunications development, also organised by the ITU.
Switzerland's participation in the CEPT and its bodies is strong. It is indeed there, through the COM-ITU working group, currently chaired by Poland, where the common European positions are prepared in advance of the Conferences of Plenipotentiaries (PP) of the ITU.
The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) was established by the 1959 Montreux Agreement, in the spirit of the pan-European movement of the time. The 19 original members, including Switzerland, were the monopolies in charge of post and telecommunications, since replaced by more independent administrations.
The CEPT is open to all European postal and telecommunications administrations of the Member States of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) or of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 48 European States are currently represented in the CEPT.
The CEPT conducts its work through three autonomous committees:
The ECC (Electronic Communications Committee) which draws up common policies and regulations on electronic communications activities in Europe.
The ComITU (Committee for ITU Policy) which is responsible for the organisation of the commitment of the CEPT with the ITU for all activities except for the World Radiocommunication Conferences.
The CERP (European Committee for Postal Regulation) which is responsible for postal regulation and European coordination and for the preparation of the meetings of the Universal Postal Union.
To adapt to the changes in the telecommunications market and the evolution of the European Union, the CEPT was reorganised in legal, financial and structural terms in 2001. This reform does not affect postal activities but entrusts all radiocommunications and telecommunications issues to the "ECC – Electronic Communications Committee". This committee relies on a single office, the ECO (European Communications Office). The Presidency of the CEPT is assured by the three Presidents of the three committees (ECC, CERP and COM-ITU).
This reorganisation provided an opportunity to introduce a political agenda, which enables the CEPT to play a more active part as a planning and decision-making forum towards the ITU and, in particular, its Conferences of Plenipotentiaries.
The CEPT has reoriented itself towards regulation and the definition of more political orientations. The new States of central and eastern Europe have joined it, some of them before they join the European Union. This expansion to the east confirms the pan-European vocation of the CEPT.