Annual report 2021

The year 2021 was marked by a significant change in the consumers’ behaviour and needs within the electronic communications, postal service and media sectors. This change is closely linked to the life changes which have taken place since the health crisis. The BIPT closely follows the changes in these markets. This enables the Institute, among other things, to develop and improve practical tools for consumers.

The importance of ensuring that citizens have efficient and reliable communications networks became apparent during the floods in the summer of 2021. The BIPT ensured that electronic communications networks in the affected areas were efficiently and quickly restored. Apart from crisis management, the BIPT participated in the fight against fraud via electronic communications services.

In 2021, the deployment of optical fibre sped up and the roll-out of 5G started based on the temporary licences issued in 2020 by the BIPT. The BIPT contributed to these developments in various ways. It also supervised and guided this innovation by putting the websites and online.

“We then realised, more than ever, the importance of effective and reliable postal and communications networks”

The legal framework regarding media and the one regarding electronic communications underwent significant changes in 2021. The BIPT provided its expertise during the drafting of these laws, ensuring the transposition of the European regulation on these subjects (the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVSMD) and the European Electronic Communications Code).

Within the framework of its mission to foster competition, the BIPT examined the wholesale tariffs for access to Proximus’ optical fibre network and the cable operators’ networks. It is essential to set these wholesale tariffs at a fair level to develop competition on the retail market while correctly compensating network operators for that access in order to foster investment. On the postal market, the BIPT finalised the analysis of the analytical accounting of bpost for 2019, which was found to be in
conformity. The BIPT also analysed the tariffs of the incumbent operator for certain cross-border parcel delivery services.

The retail prices within the electronic communications sector are not subject to regulation but are monitored by the BIPT. The Institute published its international price benchmarking study and made a national comparison of the tariffs for electronic communications services. Concerning the postal sector, the BIPT must approve the price of the universal postal service provider, bpost, if they are linked to the small user basket.

At the European level, the BIPT played a key role in 2021 by chairing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, or BEREC. In the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the BIPT continued to carry out Belgium’s mandate in 2021 as a member of the Council of Administration and, more particularly, as a co-chair of the Committee “USO, Regulatory Affairs and Postal Regulation”.

Concerning our internal organisation, the composition of the BIPT Council was modified on 16 September 2021, when Bernardo Herman took over Jack Hamande’s seat at the Council. The BIPT thanked the latter for his years of commitment.

See The Council
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