Electronic communication is the exchange or transmission of information between a limited number of parties using a public electronic communication service. Each electronic communication service requires electronic communication networks.
Electronic communication is regulated in Belgium by the Law of 13 June 2005 on electronic communication. This law does not cover the transmission of information by an audiovisual service via an electronic communication network, which is the responsibility of Communities.
The audiovisual service is only concerned by the Law of 13 June 2005 if the transmitted information may be traced to a subscriber or an identifiable user which receives it, but not if it concerns information targeting an indeterminate number of users.
Before being able to provide commercial network activities or electronic communication services, a company must receive a general authorisation and meet certain requirements provided for by the Law on maintenance and commercialisation of devices, for the use of numbers and frequencies and for equipment installation. If a firm wishes to provide or sell, on its own behalf or under its own name, electronic communication services or networks, it must alert the BIPT. The latter will confirm this notice with a standard declaration which offers the company the possibility of filing a request to install equipment and negotiate and obtain access.
Attribution of rights of use
The Royal Decree of 27 April 2007 on the management of the national numbering plan and the attribution and withdrawal of number use rights determines the conditions and procedures for operators to follow if they wish to obtain numbering capacity. To do this, operators must:
- Indicate the type and quantity of numbering capacity that they wish to acquire;
- Provide a detailed description of services and applications using the numbering capacity, the technical network elements and their reciprocal relationships, the routing principles to be implemented, any future numbering capacity needs, pricing principles and principles that the operators will implement to attribute the obtained numbering capacity to their final users;
- Demonstrate that there is no other valid technical and/or commercial alternative than to exploit their services and their applications with the requested numbering capacity.
Finally, the Law of 13 June 2005 sets a certain number of rules intended to ensure fair competition, such as the obligation of confidentiality during access agreement negotiations.
The BIPT analyses the relevant markets to determine if they are truly competitive. If the BIPT determines that an operator has significant power in a relevant market, it may impose certain obligations such as modifying already-concluded access agreements, making certain information public, publishing a reference offer allowing other operators to not pay for equipment which is not necessary for the desired service, keeping separate account records in regards to all access-related activities and those for which the operator enjoys strong market positioning, etc.
- Loi du 13 juin 2005 relative aux communications électroniques
- Arrêté royal du 27 avril 2007 relatif à la gestion de l’espace de numérotation national et à l’attribution et au retrait des droits d’utilisation de numéros