General presentation

 

BIPT was created in 1991 as a semi-governmental body and was given a statute of its own in 2003 in order to guarantee its independence of the executive power. 

To put it concisely, BIPT has a regulatory task in 4 areas that fall within its jurisdiction: the electronic communications market, the postal market, the electromagnetic spectrum of radio frequencies and radio and television broadcasting in the Brussels Capital Region. 

Within each of these areas of jurisdiction BIPT has to achieve a range of objectives directly resulting from the Belgian and European regulatory framework. In the electronic communications domain for instance, BIPT has a task to promote competition, to contribute to the development of the internal market and to ensure that consumer interests are protected.  

In order to achieve these objectives BIPT has a number of legal instruments at its disposal: it can take decisions, impose sanctions, launch consultations and investigations or act as a mediator. 

The BIPT Council is composed as follows: Michel Van Bellinghen, Axel Desmedt Jack Hamande and Luc Vanfleteren.

Creation and powers 

The federal government has created BIPT (Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications) as a type A semi-governmental body by the Act of 21 March 1991 . BIPT was given the task of regulating two sectors: electronic communications, which includes radio communications, and the postal sector.  BIPT is operational since July 1993. 

The Act of 17 January 2003  transformed BIPT into an institution of public interest with a statute of its own, thus ensuring its independence of the executive.

In short, BIPT is a federal body that performs the following tasks :

  • it is the regulator of the electronic communications market;

  • it is the regulator of the postal market;

  • it manages the electromagnetic radio frequency spectrum;

  • it is a media regulator in Brussels-Capital.

Goals 

Within each of these areas of jurisdiction BIPT has to achieve a number of tasks directly resulting from the Belgian and European regulatory framework. In the electronic communications domain for instance, BIPT has a task to promote competition, to contribute to the development of the internal market and to ensure that the consumer’s interests are protected. 

The postal sector has also been liberalised since 1 January 2011. BIPT monitors bpost’s rates and quality of service, in addition to granting licences to entrants to the postal market.

BIPT has to supervise the distribution of scarce resources such as radio frequencies, so that they are used as efficiently as possible. BIPT also polices the radio waves in order to put a stop to any form of harmful interference.

Finally BIPT makes sure that operators in the bilingual Brussels Capital Region comply with the specific regulation concerning radio and television broadcasting provided that the broadcasting company’s activities cannot be linked specifically to the Flemish Community, nor to the French Community (non bi-Community matters).  

Instruments 

In order to achieve these objectives within each of the areas of its jurisdiction, BIPT has various instruments at its disposal. For instance:

  • BIPT takes administrative decisions, which can impose obligations on companies;

  • BIPT can impose administrative sanctions;

  • BIPT renders opinions on its own initiative or at the Minister’s request;

  • BIPT monitors compliance with sectoral legislation and can launch investigations by requesting useful information or organise a public consultation;

  • BIPT can act as a mediator in case of disputes.

Supervision  

Although BIPT is independent the legislator has allowed for numerous control mechanisms. As such, the BIPT Council draws up a three-year strategic plan. The strategic plan is submitted for two weeks to public consultation. The finalised strategic plan is presented to the Chamber of Representatives.To develop its 2017-2019 strategic plan, the BIPT Council will meet with the stakeholders, such as the market players, operators, service providers, global players, but also the representatives of the users, employees and companies, public authorities, trade unions and naturally the BIPT staff.