Electronic Communications

"A regulation that is efficient, keeping pace with technology evolution in the sector and applied in a proactive and transparent way by independent and competent authorities"


Electronic communications, also called telecommunications, cover networks, services and terminal equipment allowing communication between persons and/or machines through electromagnetic means (cables, wires, optical fibre, wireless), including the distribution of media content. They constitute the backbone of our economy, of the digital single market and of the information society as a whole. The design of a regulatory framework that is efficient, that keeps pace with technology evolution and that can be applied in a proactive and transparent way by independent authorities is of crucial importance for the European Union and its Member States as well as for the industry and ultimately for consumers. Over the last three decades a substantial amount of legislation has been adopted, mainly at the initiative of the European Union. The research unit has a strong expertise about the rules in force, their history, their current application and their possible future development.

The research unit covers areas such as access to markets and networks or services (for both competitors and consumers), the promotion of investments in broadband infrastructures including 5G, radio spectrum management, access to land and rights of way. It also has special expertise on market power, guaranteed provision of services of general economic interest (universal service but also public service media), the status and organisation of regulatory authorities as well as the inter-relation between different levels of powers, definition of regulatory principles, etc. Other fields of expertise are the relationship between electronic communications regulation and horizontal regulation (competition law, consumer protection regulation) as well as the links between transmission and media (i.e. content) regulation. In this latter context, topics like the allocation of competence in Belgium on network neutrality or the regulation of Over-The-Top (OTT) providers is analysed. The University itself, but also companies, parliaments (including the European parliament and the Belgian federal Parliament), regulators (including the European Commission), administrations, associations, etc. have commissioned bespoke research from the CRIDS over the years. The research unit is accustomed to drafting classical research reports, to make contributions to the drafting of legislation and to answer specific questions regarding the implementation of legislation.

Recent publications from this unit: 

R. QUECK, CH. HOCEPIED, “Chapter I – EU Law governing the Information Society“, in L. GARZANITI, M. O’REGAN, A. DE STREEL, P. VALCKE (eds.), Garzaniti - Telecommunications, Broadcasting and the Internet – EU Competition Law & Regulation, 4th edition, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2019, to be published, p. 3-23.

A. DE STREEL, CH. HOCEPIED, “Chapter II – The Regulation of Electronic Communications Networks and Services“, in L. GARZANITI, M. O’REGAN, A. DE STREEL, P. VALCKE (eds.), Garzaniti - Telecommunications, Broadcasting and the Internet – EU Competition Law & Regulation, 4th edition, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2019, to be published, p. 25-123.

J.-B. HUBIN, H. JACQUEMIN, M. LOGNOUL, C. HOCEPIED, E. DEGRAVE. DELFORGE, T. TOMBAL, N. GILLARD, Q. VAN ENIS, « Belgium», The internal market and the digital economy : XXVIII FIDE Congress Lisbon/Estoril (23-26 may 2018) Congress proceedings Vol. 1, Coimbra, Almedina, 2018, pp. 231-266. (FREE PDF HERE)

R. QUECK, C. HOCEPIED, « De la légitimité des autorités réglementaires indépendantes dans le secteur des communications électroniques », Law, norms and freedom in cyberspace = Droit, normes et libertés dans le cybermonde : liber amicorum Yves Poullet, Collection du CRIDS, n°43, Bruxelles, Larcier, 2018, pp. 223-250.

R. QUECK, C. HOCEPIED, « Communications électroniques », R.D.T.I., 2017, n°68-69, pp. 219-251.

A. DE STREEL, C. HOCEPIED, M. MACIEJEWSKI, I. VERNACOTOLA, Optimal regulatory model for telecommunications services in the EU : study : European Parliament : directorate general for internal policies, policy department A : economic and scientific policy, Bruxelles, European Parliament, 2017, 40 p. (FREE PDF HERE)

J. S. MARCUS, U. STUMPF, V. BOCAROVA, PH. DEFRAIGNE, P. DUNN, P. KROON, ST. LUCIDI, L. NETT, CH. HOCEPIED, H. JACQUEMIN, R. QUECK, Substantive issues for review in the areas of market entry, management of scarce resources and general end-user issues – Final Report, Study prepared for the European Commission, DG CONNECT, SMART 2015/0003, Brussels, European Union, 2016, 487 p. (FREE PDF HERE)

R. DEBILIO, R. QUECK, D. STEVENS, « La répartition des compétences en matière de communications électroniques après la sixième réforme de l’Etat: statu quo ou départ vers de nouveaux rivages ?», R.D.I.R., 2014, pp. 389-402.

CRIDS Documentary Database