Edition: September 2010
The European Communications Office (ECO) was formally established on 1 July 2009 following the merger of the European Radiocommunications Office (ERO) and the European Telecommunications Office (ETO) in January 2001 and the subsequent amendment to the ERO Convention to reflect this merger.
The European Communications Office (ECO) is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the permanent office supporting the CEPT, its Presidency and its three Committees: the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC), the Committee for ITU Policy (Com-ITU) and the Committee for Postal Regulation (CERP). The CEPT brings together the postal and telecommunications regulatory authorities of 48 European countries.
The “Convention for the establishment of the European Communications Office” has to this date been signed by 30 CEPT Administrations and defines the terms of reference for ECO and its funding arrangement.
The ECO is governed by the Council, consisting of representatives of the Contracting Parties to the Convention.
The total number of ECO staff is 13 persons drawn from different CEPT countries, seven experts covering most fields within the radio- and telecommunications areas and six staff members in the general service category (of which two are employed on a part-time basis). The Director is Mark Thomas (United Kingdom).
In addition to supporting the CEPT including its Committees and their Working Groups and sub-groups ECO has the following primary functions:
- to provide a centre of expertise which shall act as a focal point, identifying problem areas and new possibilities in the postal and electronic communications field and to advise the CEPT Presidency and the Committees accordingly;
- to draft long-term plans for future use of scarce resources utilised by electronic communications on a European level;
- to liaise with the national authorities, as appropriate;
- to support and work together with national frequency management authorities;
- to conduct consultations on specific topics or parts of the frequency spectrum;
- to publish CEPT deliverables (Decisions and Recommendations) and keep a record of their implementation;
- to be the custodian of the CEPT archives and to disseminate CEPT information as appropriate.
The ECO website www.ero.dk is a major access point for information about the activities of the CEPT, its Committees and their more than 50 Working Groups and Project Teams, and the meetings held. The website is also used for extensive consultation processes with regard to deliverables within the CEPT family.
Additionally, the website gives access to ECO’s on-line information systems:
- The document database (DocDB) where the official deliverables (CEPT/ECC Decisions, Recommendations and Reports) are available for downloading.
- the ECO Frequency Information System (EFIS) – please see below.
- The European Common Allocation Table (ECA) – please see below.
Supporting the ECC and its Working Groups is one of the major tasks of ECO. Input material for the meetings of the Committee, its Working Groups and Project Teams is prepared, often on the basis of information collected from CEPT administrations, or studies on the future use of frequency bands.
ECO also chairs a number of Project Teams supporting the ECC and its Working Groups and is the focal point for information on issues such as EFIS, Short Range Devices and SAP/SAB.
Numbering, naming and addressing (NNA) schemes are some of the key facilitators in telecommunications. The objectives in this area include promotion of harmonisation of different NNA policies as well as considerations on how technology developments affect regulation. IP-based networks bring along new kind of identifiers, and ECO is working closely with European National Regulatory Agencies and other relevant parties in drafting the future management plans and use of these identifiers.
Consultation is the key to many of ECC’s activities, and the ECO facilitates many of the procedures which have been introduced to enable organisations to participate in the work of the ECC: government departments, public radiocommunications operators, manufacturers, users, private network operators, service providers, research institutes, standards making bodies and national, European or international organisations whose membership has an interest in European communications matters.
EUROPEAN COMMON ALLOCATION (ECA)
The ECA, summarises spectrum strategies for the current and future use of spectrum in Europe. It was first developed based on a major consultation activity undertaken in the late 1990s called the Detailed Spectrum Investigation process (DSI), with very active participation and involvement from European industry and users of the radio frequency spectrum. The ECA is now maintained and updated each year by the ECC Working Group Frequency Management (WG FM).
ECA is also to a large extent aligned with military use of frequency spectrum in Europe. Military frequency requirements included in the table have been supported by the NATO Joint Civil/Military Frequency Agreement (NJFA) and by ongoing agreements within the civil/military co-operation in Europe.
The European Common Allocation Table has been used by CEPT Administrations as the basis for developing of National Frequency Allocation and Utilisation tables.
ECO FREQUENCY INFORMATION SYSTEM (EFIS)
EFIS is an on-line frequency information system, where CEPT administrations publish their national frequency data (allocations, applications, radio interfaces). The system also contains documentation and hyperlinks to national websites.
The system allows the search for and comparison of official spectrum information within Europe and provides easy access for industry and users to frequency utilisation information across (ultimately) all 48 CEPT members in Europe.
In 2007, in its Decision on harmonised availability of information regarding spectrum use within the Community, the European Commission decided to use EFIS as a common spectrum information portal within the Community. EU Member States shall provide information on national allocations, applications, radio interfaces and, from 1 January 2010, on individual rights of use, in EFIS.
SEAMCAT (Spectrum Engineering Advanced Monte Carlo Analysis Tool)
SEAMCAT® is a software tool based on the Monte-Carlo simulation method, which was developed within the frame of the CEPT. This tool permits statistical modeling of different radio interference scenarios for performing sharing and compatibility studies between radiocommunications systems in the same or adjacent frequency bands.
The SEAMCAT tool was developed as a co-operation project between national regulatory agencies, industry and ERO/ECO. The first release of SEAMCAT was finalised in January 2000, the latest official version 2.1 of the second release was made available in February 2003. The installation files are available for free download.
Since 5 September 2002, the Office has been responsible for the overall management of the SEAMCAT project. Additional technical expertise for support of the project is drawn through the SEAMCAT Technical Group (STG) within the ECC Working Group Spectrum Engineering (WG SE).
CEPT CONFERENCE and OTHER EVENTS
ECO organises a CEPT Conference on a regular basis (every 15-18 months). Furthermore, specific open meetings are arranged, where interested parties can obtain information, discuss and give feedback on the activities of the CEPT, its Committees and ECO as well as on other topics of current interest mainly in the area of radio- and telecommunications. The future of this Conference is currently under review.
The ECO plays a central role in the planning and execution of subject-specific public workshops which the ECC holds from time to time in order to provide and expert and open platform to inform its policy development on key issues..
The CEPT Members are Administrations from the following 48 European countries:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City.