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< Back to overview page: "BEREC Consultation Platform"

Draft BEREC Guidelines detailing Quality of Service Parameters

BEREC Public Consultation on draft BEREC Guidelines Detailing Quality of Service Parameters

Starting: 08 Oct Ending

17 days left (ends 05 Dec)

Go to discussion and give your opinion.

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During its 40th plenary meeting (3-4 October 2019, Crete) the Board of Regulators approved the draft BEREC Guidelines Detailing Quality of Service Parameters for public consultation.

In accordance with Article 104 of the European Electronic Communications Code  NRAs shall take utmost account of these Guidelines when specifying quality of service parameters to be measured, the applicable measurement methods and the content, form and manner of the information to be published.  By 21 June 2020 BEREC shall adopt the above mentioned Guidelines.

The public consultation is open from Thursday, 10 October 2019 , 14:00 to Thursday, 5 December 2019, 17:00 CET.

Please go to the Discussion and give your opinion.

The consultation document is available for download - please see below.

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P16

More specifically, Article 104(1) of the EECC provides that NRAs in coordination with other competent authorities may require providers of IAS and of publicly available ICS to publish comprehensive, comparable, reliable, user-friendly and up-to-date information for end-users on the quality of their services and on measures taken to ensure equivalence in access for end-users with disabilities.

P17

According to Recital 260 of the EECC, end-users should be informed, inter alia, of the different levels of the QoS, conditions for promotions and termination of contracts, applicable tariff plans and tariffs for services subject to particular pricing conditions.

P18

At the same time, Recital 271 of the EECC provides that NRAs – in coordination with other competent authorities – should be empowered to monitor the QoS and to systematically collect information on the QoS offered by providers of IAS and of publicly available ICS, to the extent that the latter are able to offer minimum levels of service quality either through control of at least some elements of the network or by virtue of a service level agreement (SLA) to that end, including the quality related to the provision of services to end-users with disabilities. That information should be collected on the basis of criteria which allows comparability between service providers and between Member States. Providers of such electronic communications services, operating in a competitive environment, are likely to make adequate and up-to-date information on their services publicly available for reasons of commercial advantage. NRAs in coordination with other competent authorities, or where relevant, other competent authorities in co-ordination with national regulatory authorities should nonetheless be able to require publication of such information where it is demonstrated that such information is not effectively available to the public.

P19

Moreover, according to Article 104(1) of the EECC, NRAs in coordination with other competent authorities may require providers of publicly available ICS to inform consumers if the quality of the services they provide depends on any external factors, such as control of signal transmission or network connectivity.

P20

It follows from Article 104(1) of the EECC that the information obligations which an NRA may require from a given provider depend on two criteria:

P21

  • firstly, the relevant service (IAS and/or publicly available ICS);

P22

  • secondly, whether the provider controls at least some elements of the network either directly or by virtue of an SLA to that effect.

P23

In order to facilitate comparability across the European Union and to reduce compliance cost, according to Recital 272, BEREC should adopt guidelines on relevant QoS parameters which NRAs in coordination with other competent authorities should take utmost account of.

P24

Moreover, Article 104(1), provides that The measures to ensure quality of service shall comply with Regulation (EU) 2015/2120.Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 contains specific transparency obligations for providers of IAS. In the BEREC Guidelines on Net Neutrality adopted in 2016,[11] BEREC has further explained the transparency obligations contained in Article 4(1), first sentence, (a)-(e).

P25

In accordance with Article 104(2) of the EECC, NRAs in coordination with other competent authorities shall specify, taking utmost account of the Guidelines, the QoS parameters to be measured, the applicable measurement methods, and the content, form and manner of the information to be published, including possible quality certification mechanisms, using where appropriate, the parameters, definitions and measurement methods set out in Annex X of the EECC.

P26

In light of the above, the Guidelines, in pursuing the goal of providing transparency to consumers on the QoS, provide assistance to NRAs on the QoS parameters that NRAs could decide to be measured and the applicable methods, as well as on the information to be published and the possible quality certification mechanisms.

P27

Furthermore, QoS can be distinguished from Quality of Experience (QoE) as QoS concerns the network and terminal equipment up to the user interface[12] while QoE focuses on the entire service experience and includes the whole path from user to user including the end-user expectation, perception and context of use. For more details on QoE see ITU-T Rec G.1011[13]. Network performance (NP) is more limited in scope because it excludes terminal performance. Figure 1 shows the relationship between these terms.[14] For the purpose of the Guidelines only QoS is taken into consideration.

Figure 1: QoS, QoE, NP (source BEREC, 2011)[15]
quality_concepts CPE: Customer Premise Equipment, UNI: User-to-Network Interface

P28

Moreover, the Guidelines focus solely on QoS parameters related to ICS as well as the corresponding measurement methods and certification mechanisms. QoS of IAS is dealt within the BEREC OI WG publications.

P29

ICS can be provided by different technological means. Firstly, in the event where the provider has control over network elements (e.g. because he owns the network) or has an SLA with a network operator: it is possible for the provider of the ICS to give information on QoS parameters. For example, in the case of telephony services which are provided as “traditional” (i.e. non-Over The Top – OTT) telephony services or as specialised services (i.e. managed services), it is possible for the provider to indicate the corresponding QoS parameters in the case where voice connections are originated and terminated within the providers network while end-users use specific terminal equipment. In this scenario, a provider is obliged to fulfil the information requirements set out in Article 104(1) of the EECC, if an NRA requires such.

P30

Secondly, in the event where the provider neither has control over network elements, nor has an SLA to that effect: this may arise if the interpersonal communication services are provided over the internet, i.e. number-independent ICS (NIICS). In this event, the quality of the ICS depends on the quality of the IAS and terminal equipment used. For example, a provider of a messaging service which also has a voice service functionality cannot indicate the QoS of the voice call because the quality of the voice call is influenced by the underlying IAS and terminal equipment used. According to Article 104(1) of the EECC, an NRA may require the provider of the NIICS to inform consumers if the quality of the services they provide depends on any external factors, such as control of signal transmission, network connectivity and terminal equipment. If the NRA requires so, a NIICS provider is obliged to inform consumers that the voice quality depends e.g. on the quality of the underlying IAS and terminal equipment. However, the NIICS provider cannot himself make a statement on the QoS as this is outside the area of his influence.

P31

Different standards have been defined to detail methodologies to measure QoS of ICS and IAS. The measurement methods specified by NRAs should be based, where appropriate, on standards as set out in Tables 1, 2 and 3 of the Guidelines. NRAs should take account of and consider guidance on IAS QoS indicators and related definitions, methodologiesdeveloped by BEREC OI WG[16].

P32

In addition there are other QoS related and relevant ongoing BEREC work streams which are currently being developed by the following BEREC WGs – Statistics and Indicators WG, OI WG and Roaming WG. The output from these BEREC work streams could be considered and taken utmost account of by NRAs and by other competent authorities when defining the IAS QoS parameters and their measurement methods.

P33

Several techniques can be used to measure different QoS parameters: measurements based on the actual occurrences[17], self-certification, survey, drive tests, probes on selected locations, theoretical values, crowdsourcing, etc. Techniques recommended by the standards considered hereafter should be followed when relevant.