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Building Romanian Regulatory Capacity: dot-GOV

Internews' implementation of the Romania Information Technology Initiative - Policy component continues apace, having completed two initial capacity-building workshops and one US study tour for Romania's newly created National Regulatory Authority for Communications (ANRC).

Regulatory Principles Workshop
The first workshop, held September 2002 in Bucharest, addressed the characteristics of a modern regulator and its working methods, key regulatory challenges and priorities, and pending tasks for each division of ANRC. Trainers included EU regulators and EU industry representatives, and the US perspective was presented by the FCC.

The workshop results were:
  • A strong team spirit was created. ANRC staff members now identify themselves with ANRC and regard ANRC as a dynamic organization, designed to create an open competitive market.
  • ANRC staff understands the difference between the "letter" of the regulation and the "intent" of regulation.
  • ANRC will give priority to issues of essential importance to new entrants and to customer interests.
  • ANRC is sensitized to the challenges they will face as they operate as regulators.
Washington, DC Study Tour of Regulator Operations
In October 2002, all five ANRC division directors and the ANRC President completed a study tour to Washington, DC to observe how a regulator actually operates. The ANRC spent a whole day at the FCC reviewing the various functions of the FCC, which was followed by visits to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the National Telecommunications Information Agency, the State Department, Verizon, Cingular, and the Washington DC Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications.

These visits sparked extensive discussions on topics such as spectrum allocation, economic analysis, cost allocation, legal issues, personnel issues, public relations, and consumer awareness and protection, with considerable attention to the latter, a major challenge for ANRC staff.

In their evaluation of the study tour, the ANRC highlighted the following as most immediately useful to their work:
  • The opportunity to hear the perspective of various sides of the U.S. telecom sector, from government, industry, and civil society organizations.
  • How economic factors drive many of the positions taken by telecom stakeholders.
  • The experience of spending time with people directly involved in a regulatory process and ask them questions.
  • The emphasis on transparency, expressed during all the meetings, and the innovative ways to involve consumers in the regulatory process.
  • The balance between public and private interests and the challenge of keeping both industry and consumers happy.
The participants emphasized how the visit helped them see "the forest for the trees," and the study tour had given them immediate benefits to their current and future work.

The RITI-Policy Project staff will work with the ANRC with follow-on activities from this study tour. The ANRC noted that the full participation in the tour by the RITI Chief-of-Party, Mr. Jerker Torngren, made it easier for them to focus on important information. The ANRC expressed appreciation to the individuals they met who agreed to stay in email contact after their return to Romania.

Romanian Private Sector ICT Industry Workshop
A one-day workshop with representatives of the Romanian private sector ICT industry was held in Bucharest in September 2002. The purpose of the workshop was to help the Romanian ICT industry become more aware of the role of the ANRC and the industry benefits of supporting transparent licensing processes adopted by the ANRC. A consultative group was formed and is working on an informal basis with the ANRC.

The RITI-Policy Project began on May 21st, 2002 and will run three years (Associate Cooperative Agreement No. 186-A-00-02-00101-00 under the dot-GOV Leader Award No. GDG-A-00-01-00009-00).

For more information

Rolf Jerker Torngren, Chief of Party, RITI-Policy
Tel: +40 21 323 46 13, Mobile: +40 72 31 31 086

Mariana Ovtcharova, Program Associate, Internews Network
Tel: +1 202 833-5740

Official launch of the Romania Information Technology Initiative [from DOT-COMments Issue I: Fall 2002]