International Cooperation

January. 30, 2006

Cooperation with the International Telecommunications Union - ITU

Georgia, by the representation of the Ministry of Post and Communications (Category - Administration), became a member of the International Telecommunications Union on January 7, 1993. On June 20, 1994 Georgia has acceded to the Constitution and the Convention of the International Telecommunications Union.

Georgian National Communications Commission cooperates with the International Telecommunications Union since its creation, since 2000, within its competence, as the regulatory authority (Category - ADMIN RELATED / REGULATOR). It participates as ITU- universal, as well as - the events organized by specific sectors. In addition, the Commission participates in the work of broadcasting sector committees. The Commission is involved in filling in of annual ITU questionnaire, in particular, rate questionnaire (includes information on costs and tariffs models, fixed telephone service tariff rebalancing, interconnection issues, next generation networks and so on), short questionnaire on indicators and ITU complete questionnaire (includes information on the competition, the main fixed operators status, the independence of the regulator, The legal framework, interconnection, licensing, dispute resolution, Radio frequency spectrum, etc.). These questionnaires promote supplementation of the ITU database. ITU database is published on the ITU website. This is the only official database, according to which international and intergovernmental organizations analyze and determine the country's level of development in the field of telecommunications. The International Telecommunications Union member states, including, Georgia as the Ministry, as well as the Regulatory Commission, have access to the most important and informative documents of the organization, such as: World Telecommunication Development Programme Reports; The recommendations developed by the Organization; Technical and the frequency resource management regulations, etc.

In November 2014 the Commission was one of the hosts of the 12th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium. At the Symposium the International Telecommunication Union has published the rankings of the countries of the World according to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Development Index. According to this document, giving the ICT Development Index among 166 countries Georgia is in the list of 9 most dynamically developing countries. In the ICT Development Index the rating of Georgia was improved in five steps and it took 78th place instead of 83.

The International Telecommunication Union was created in 1865, in Paris, as the International Telegraph Union. In 1932 it gained its current name and in 1947 it became a specialized agency of the United Nations. Originally ITU's activities included the Telegraph only and today it covers the whole ICT sector.

This is an organization whose activities are, in general, standardization at the international level, radio-coordination, the development of telecommunications; It runs coordination of the state, as well as the private sector global telecom networks and services.

 The organization aims to:

  • Promote and expand international cooperation within its members, for the development and rational use of telecommunications;
  • Promote the developing countries and offer technical assistance in the field of telecommunications; also, support mobilization of necessary material and financial resources for the development of telecommunications;
  • Ensure development and efficient use of technical facilities in order to enhance the efficiency of telecommunication services; and more.

 

Activities of International Telecommunications Union are divided into 3 main spheres and accordingly, the 3 main sectors - Standardization (ITU-T), Radio Communications (ITU-R) and Telecommunication Development (ITU-D) sectors.

 

 

European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

Georgian National Communications Commission became an associate member of European Telecommunications Standards Institute on November 20-21, 2001, at the Institute General Assembly with the administration status.

In 2007 it became a full member of the Commission.

In 2009 by the offer of the Institute and the agreement with the Commission, the Commission also became National Standards Organization – NSO of European Telecommunications Standards Institute in Georgia.

The Commission is actively collaborating with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. It regularly attends the Institute General Assemblies, NSO working meetings, seminars and other activities of the Institute. In order to gain knowledge on new European standards as well as the new technologies, the Commission organized seminars in Georgia for the staff of the Commission, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Standards and Metrology Agency of Georgia and telecommunications and broadcasting operators.

In 2009 according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Institute and the Commission, the Commission is involved in the process of online discussion and approval of the projects of European standards developed/revised by the Institute.

It was established in 1988, by European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations and is officially recognized by the European Commission and EFTA Secretariat, as the European standardization body, in the information and communication technology field, fixed, mobile, radio and broadcast and internet technologies. ETSI not only develops its own standards, simultaneously it registers European and European harmonized standards (EN, hEN). That is the European standard/European harmonized standard is known as ETSI recognized standards. ETSI- standards contributes to the regulation of European market; they used outside the Europe. Thus, these institutions play an important role not only in Europe, but also in universal standardization process. 

ETSI currently brings together more than 700 member organizations from all 5 continents of the world's 62 countries, including manufacturers, network operators, administrations, service providers and users;

 

 

Internet-Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers/Governmental Advisory Committee

(ICANN/GAC)

 

 

Based on the initiative of the Commission and the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Georgia became a member of Internet-Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers/Governmental Advisory Committee in 2009. The accredited representative of Georgia in the Governmental Advisory Committee of the Corporation is represented by the Chairman of the Commission.

Internet-Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – was established on November 21, 1998. Offices are in California, Washington, Belgium, in Sydney. The aim of the Corporation is to promote the development of the Internet in global scale, in compliance with the international law and relevant international conventions and local law.

In particular, ICANN coordinates the following:

  1. Domain Name System - DNS, IP addresses and AS numbers, Protocol port and the domain name parameters;
  2. domain name server system;
  3. The operation and development of domain name system;
  4. The development of the policy, which is linked to the above-mentioned technical functions;

It does not control the content of the Internet, Cannot stop the spam and does not apply to the internet access. But in terms of coordination of Internet Name System, it plays a major role in the expansion and development of the Internet. Without ICANN coordination, there would be no single universal Internet. This is the organization, which is fully responsible for the technical functions of the Internet.

ICANN is governed by International Board of Directors which consists of 19 members.

ICANN consists of several committees. Including, one of the special committee is the of government-advisory committee and Georgia is its member, by the representation of the Commission.

GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) consists of 83 countries, various international organizations, including the ITU, UNESCO, WIPO, OECD and UPU representatives and observers.

GAC develops and provides consulting proposals with regard to the activity of the corporation, if this activity is related to the interests of the state. Committee proposals shall be considered by the Corporation when making decisions.

Committee proposals may include:

  • Internet security, reliability and performance, including continuous service and universal connectivity;
  • Development of the Internet for public welfare interest, state, private, educational and commercial purposes;
  • Corporation transparency and non-discrimination in the allocation of Internet names and addresses;
  • Effective competition in all areas of activity and the conditions of competition, what will be beneficial for all categories of consumers, so they can make their choice and low-cost improved services and other…

In October 2009 Internet-Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved the Program, which made it possible to register ccTLD.

The Commission, as the official representative of Georgia to the Internet-Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers/Governmental Advisory Committee, has made steps upon publication of the program to introduce it to our country. In particular:

-         Presentation and discussion of the Program was held in the commission;

-         Materials relating to the program were published at the website of the Commission (www.gncc.ge)

-         Survey was conducted for the selection of the domain row.

Selected domain row was granted to Georgia in 2011. Domain delegation was carried out in November 2014. Domain Registration is not started yet.

 

 

European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)

With the initiatives and negotiations, Georgia became a member of CEPT in 2006. Administration - Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. By joining the CEPT we have recognized and signed two main CEPT documents: CEPT Arrangements and CEPT Rules of Procedures.

Commission cooperates with CEPT within its competence.

European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations were established on June 26, 1959, by 19 countries, as coordinating body of the European telecommunications and postal organizations. The acronym "CEPT" is derived from the French name:”Conference Europenne des Administrations des Postes et des Telecommunications”. The first members of the CEPT were postal and telecommunications monopoly organizations. Today CEPT unifies 48 countries. In 1988 CEPT has established ETSI and has transmitted all the activities related to the telecommunication standardization.

This is the regional organization, which Cooperates with the European Community, European Free Trade Association and other inter-governmental organizations in the postal and telecommunications field.

CEPT members are postal and telecommunications administrations (according to the statute of the CEPT, the term "Administration" refers to the policy makers, decision makers and/or regulatory organizations in the postal and telecommunications field), which are the members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and ITU.

CEPT aims to promote the creation of a dynamic market in the postal and telecommunications industry, together with cooperation with the member states.

Main functions of CEPT are discussion of State policy and relevant regulatory issues in the postal and telecommunications field, at the European level, including the use of radio spectrum; promotion of European harmonization with respect to radio spectrum; establish the necessary contacts with the European Commission, other inter-governmental organizations, conducting forums for discussion of European common proposals, revision of the proposals developed and proposed by ITU and UPU and development of a common view and so on.

 

 

Eurasian Cooperation

In the Field of Telecommunications Regulation

 

The foundation was laid to the project in 2003, by the initiative of the Turkey's regulatory body. In May 2004, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of telecommunications regulation was signed. The memorandum provides cooperation in regard to the regulatory issues in the telecommunications sector, exchange of information, if necessary, consultations to the stakeholders and development of telecommunications sector in the region as well as creation of attractive investment environment. In case of interest, it ensures workshops and trainings on the reform of telecommunication sector, competition policy, regulation as well as control methods, the regime of licensing, numbering issues, universal service, standardization and certification, customer rights protection and on many other significant issues.

Three working groups were formed under the project: working groups on coordination issues, market regulation issues and limited resources.

In the framework of mutual cooperation, on September 25-26, 2006, the second high-level meeting was held in Tbilisi, which was preceded by a preparatory working meeting. Working groups (coordination, market regulation, limited resources) were approved at the meeting, technical tasks of these working groups and the leader countries of the working groups were selected and approved: Coordination Group Leader – Turkey, Limited Resources Group Leader – Azerbaijan, Market Regulation Group Leader – Georgia.

 

 

The European Commission - Eastern Partnership

In May 2009, by the initiative of the Council of Europe, Eastern Partnership (EaP) was created. The Eastern Partnership was officially announced on May 7, 2009, in Prague, at the Summit, which was attended by the representatives of 33 countries (27 - of the European Community member states and 6 - Eastern Partnership countries). In the frames of the Eastern Partnership, six countries took an important step towards EC Eastern Neighborhood Policy Countries. These 6 countries are the following: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine.

Eastern Partnership (EaP), gives opportunity to all the six countries, including Georgia, in the frames of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, to accelerate the political and economic integration process with the EU.

The Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) has proposed to establish Cooperation Network for Electronic Communications Regulatory Authorities of the Eastern Partnership countries. For this purpose, on 7-8 October 2010, through the initiative of Austrian Regulatory Authority the first working meeting of the Eastern Partnership was held in Vienna, which was attended by the representatives of the European Commission, the representatives of the Regulatory Authorities of the European Community member states as well as the representatives of the Regulatory Authorities of 6 Eastern Partnership countries.

On June 30 – July 1, 2011 the second working meeting of the European Commission, European Countries Regulatory Authorities and Eastern Partnership Regulatory Authorities was held in Trakai, Lithuania. Together with the European Commission, the meeting was hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Lithuania.

On November 23-24, 2011, the next meeting of Eastern Partnership countries was held in Barcelona, which coincided with the joint summit of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and Latin American Forum of Telecommunications Regulators (REGULATEL). The summit was attended by the Director-General, Robert Madelin.

In autumn 2012, at the Eastern Partnership Summit, the Charter/Statute on the Establishment of Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications Regulators Network was signed in Chisinau, Moldova. The Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications Regulators Network was officially created which aims the development of the electronic communications market of Eastern Partnership Countries as well as the approximation to the European Community market. The network has the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and they are elected for a term of 1 year. The Chairman should be the representative of the Eastern Partnership country and the Vice-Chairman – the representative of the European Community country.

In March 2013 the Eastern Partnership Summit was held in Kiev where the foundation was laid to the project initiated and funded by the European Commission, which was carried out by the Slovak PWC. The aim of the project was approximation of Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications market closer to the market of the European Community. The project was conducted in three directions: technical assistance (10 working meetings), benchmarking and promotion of bilateral cooperation. Working meetings were held on the following topics: market analysis; cost accounting methodologies and approaches; mobile and fixed-line call completion rates; universal service obligations; service quality and consumer rights protection; international and national roaming; broadband services, NGN, NGA; separate accounting and regulatory audits; assigning frequencies and the digital dividend; benchmarking for wholesale and retail markets, regulatory benchmarking; challenges for transition to digital broadcasting. Benchmarking is held twice a year, involving 6 Eastern Partnership and 5 European Community countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Czech Republic, and Slovakia). Plenary sessions are held 2 times a year, where the implemented activities are summed up and subsequent work is planned. Problematic issues are considered and resolved as well.

On April 1-2, 2014 the third plenary session of the network was held in Tbilisi. The meeting was hosted by the National Communications Commission.

In December 2014 the fourth plenary session was held in Prague. Together with the other ongoing issues, the elections were held at the meeting. National Communications Commission was elected as the chairman for 2015 and Swedish Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority was elected as the Vice-Chairman.

 

 European Platform of Regulatory Authorities

(EPRA)

This is the largest association of broadcasting regulatory authorities in Europe. It was founded in 1995, in Malta. The organization operates in the following areas:

 

  • Discussions and exchange of views between the regulatory bodies in the media field;
  • Information sharing on issues of national and European media regulation;
  • Discussions and practical advice on legal issues in the field of media regulation.

 

EPRA is independent and neutral union of European broadcasting regulatory bodies; It facilitates the sharing of best practices and experience.

Georgia is the member EPRA since 2013 and takes active part in cooperation.

In October 2014 Commission hosted the 40th EPRA International Meeting.