Role

The Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom) is an independent authority, established by
Law nb.249 of 31 July 1997.

 

Independence and autonomy are the elements which typify its activity and its decisions. Like the other authorities set up in the Italian system, Agcom is accountable to Parliament which has established its powers, defined its statutes and elected its members. Bodies of the Authority are: the President, the Commission for infrastructures and networks (CIN), the Commission for services and products (CSP), the Council of AGCOM. Each Commission is a collegiate body, composed of the President and two Commissioners.

Members of the Commission for infrastructures and networks (CIN) are:
the President Angelo Marcello Cardani and Commissioners Maurizio Decina and Antonio Preto.

Members of the Commission for services and products (CSP) are:
the President and Commissioners Antonio Martusciello and Francesco Posterato.

 

The Council of the AGCOM is composed of the President and all Commissioners.

Agcom is first and foremost a “guarantor”.The two main tasks assigned to it by Law nb.249 are to ensure equitable conditions for fair market competition and to protect fundamental rights of all citizens.

 

Guarantor for operators and consumers

 

The guarantees refer to:

operators, by means of:
– implementation of liberalization in the telecommunication market through regulation and supervision activities, and through dispute resolution;
– rationalization of resources in audiovisuals; application of antitrust rules in the field of communications, inquiries on dominant positions; organization of the Registry of Communication Operators.
consumers, by means of:
– strict control on quality and distribution of services and products, including advertising;
resolution of disputes between operators and consumers; regulation of universal service and creation of – specific rules aimed at safeguarding socially vulnerable categories; fostering and safeguarding political, social and economic pluralism in broadcasting; defence of copyright of audiovisual and software products, by means of a recently established Unit against piracy.
Above all, however, Agcom pursues the goal of technological innovation, which stimulates the creation of new products and services, as well as new productive cycles.
Technological growth encourages the creation of new languages while favouring computer literacy of citizens in the “information society”.

 

Convergent Authority

 

The Communications Regulatory Authority is a “convergent” authority. The definition refers to the choice made by Parliament, which attributed to Agcom a series of functions extending from telecommunications to audiovisuals and publishing. This choice took into account the deep changes caused by the “digital revolution” which has blurred the boundaries between the different media, whose contents – images, data, voice – are becoming more and more interactive.
Telephone, television and personal computer will soon become integrated, creating a common platform where all technologies will converge and increasing the range of services which can be offered to the public.
The model adopted by the Authority is almost unique in the international scenario and many countries are looking at it with growing interest.


Structure

Convergence also moulded Agcom’s organizational model. Responsibilities and tasks are assigned according to a functional criterium (e.g. supervision, regulation etc.).
By virtue of the Authority’s statutes approved on 16 June 1998, the working structure of Agcom is made up of first level units (General Secretariat, Departments and Services) and second level units (Offices).
Bodies of the Authority are the Regional Committees for Communications (Corecom) which replace the former Regional Radiotelevision Committees.

Law nb 249 also established the National Council of Users which, in full autonomy, expresses opinions and makes proposals to Agcom, Parliament and Government in order to safeguard human dignity, pluralism, objectivity, completeness and impartiality of information and of communication activities.
The Authority also approved its own Ethical Code of conduct to be respected by all its members, management personnel and staff members. A recently established Committee has the task to assess the correct application of the Code.


Budget

The Authority is funded by the State through an annual budgetary allocation. Other revenue derives from the contribution owed to Agcom by operators of communications, whose amount is established each year in a decree issued by the Ministry of Finance in agreement with the Treasury.
A Guarantee Committee has been established to ensure transparency and fairness in Agcom’s administrative and financial management.


Missions

Guarantees for users

The communications’ system cannot evolve at the expense of consumers who ought to be the first to benefit from competition. Agcom ensures the protection of the rights of users.
In the sector of telecommunications, for instance, increased offer must not mean poorer quality in services: the Authority has the task to check whether products are correctly distributed, and to keep a watch over transparency in adverts.
Agcom can also settle disputes between consumers and operators. First of all, however, Agcom has to guarantee that essential facilities are available to everybody.
As regards to universal service, the Authority has to evaluate the amount of the annual contribution to the special fund established by law, deciding which operators – mobile and fixed – must take part in it. To protect the weakest categories of population, Agcom established a 50% reduction on the subscriber’s fee.
The admission to this benefit is disciplined by a decree of the Office of the President of the Council of Ministers and by a regulation of Inps (the National Institute for Social Security).
The main task of Agcom in the broadcasting area is the safeguard of pluralistic information: in cooperation with external experts and data survey companies, the Authority has set up an important plan for around the clock monitoring of national TV programmes in order to assess the extent to which networks comply with national legislation or regulatory provisions regarding: advertising, political and social pluralism, protection of minors, obligations for programming.
As prescribed by Law nb.249, Agcom issued implementation provisions regarding publicity and political information, fair treatment and equal access in publications and in programmes of political propaganda (“par condicio”).
Agcom’s regulation of advertising aims at balancing business and consumer interests, also through the interpretation of existing rules, often not applied or arbitrarily applied by broadcasters.
Violations of norms are punished by the Authority through economic sanctions.
Regulation of “par condicio” is referred both to private and public networks and provides for intervention by Agcom not only during the election period.

Guarantees for operators

A cornerstone in Agcom’s activity is the promotion and the safeguard of competition in the telecommunication market, where monopoly was strong and where hard regulation was needed.
With the opening of the incumbent’s network and the regulation of interconnection and access, liberalization got under way; through tariff rebalancing in fixed telephony and in fixed-to-mobile communications, Agcom removed the main market distorsions.
Of great importance were: the approval of the numbering plan, which helped rationalising numbering resources and fostering new services; the introduction of carrier selection, carrier preselection, local loop unbundling, and mobile number portability, which are fundamental steps to a fair and equal competition.
In the first three years of its activity, Agcom’s commitment has been to liberalize markets and to create proper conditions for longlasting expansion of the market.
This applies to audiovisuals as well, where intervention by Agcom aims at ensuring pluralism and an efficient distribution of resources.
To this end, Agcom must adopt the National Plans for Frequency Assignment for Radio-Television Broadcasting, ascertain the existence of dominant positions, verify that antitrust rules are correctly applied.
As the launching of digital television in 2006 approaches, Agcom has issued the regulation concerning terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasting and adopted a series of measures to reduce concentration in the assets of Rai and Mediaset, the two major players in the radio-television sector, and to boost entrepreneurial skills of new operators.
A detailed picture of the new entrants in the communications markets will be offered by the Registry of the Communication Operators, whose regulation has been recently approved by the Authority.


Commitment for innovation and convergence

Convergence was the challenge the Authority took up when it was established.
The fostering of new technologies – of great importance for the future of Italy – is among the main commitments of Agcom. Soon Umts – the third generation mobile system – will change the way people communicate and interact. Images, voices and data will be available on the same display: “total mobility” will thus be realized.
Agcom issued the regulation for the auction which resulted, in October 2000, in the release of five licenses.
Broadband technologies are revolutionizing the world of data transmission. By means of these new systems, using copper cable, optical fiber or radio-frequencies, communication moves speedily towards multimediality, becoming available to everybody at reasonable costs.
The Authority has been particularly concerned with the developing of broadband technology, adopting several measures to grant access to the incumbent’s network at fair and non-discriminatory conditions and issuing the regulation for the release of WLL (Wireless Local Loop) licences.
Agcom is also very interested in the evolution of Internet, both by a technological and a legal point of view.
A brand new legislative approach is needed in the light of the exceptionality of this medium, which makes difficult traditional rules to be applied. Issues like protection of minors and copyright should be adequately faced by means of “convergent” discipline.
For this purpose Agcom started a specific project whose results will be submitted to the Government.
In audiovisuals, innovation is well represented not only by the introduction of digital technology in broadcasting, but also by the recent Stream – Tele+ pay-tv agreement on symulcast transmission of programmes.
Innovation is also at the basis of frequent relations between Agcom, the academical world and several research institutes.
Two agreements have been recently stipulated with the University of Naples, Federico II, and the Politecnico of Milan, both of great importance for the development of the communications system in Italy.


Regulations

Prescribed by Law nb.249, Agcom adopted regulations concerning:

  • Structure and functioning;
  • Financial and human resources management;
  • Personnel

Agcom Board members

The Decree nb 201/2011 set to four the number of AGCOM Commisssioners. They are elected by the Parliament and appointed by the President of the Republic.The President of AGCOM is proposed by the Prime Minister, approved by the competent commissions of the Parliament on qualified majority and appointed by the President of the Republic. The President’s and Commissioners’ term of the mandate is of seven years. The Council of AGCOM renewed on May 2012.

Angelo Marcello Cardani
Chairman, member of Commission for Services and Products (CSP), member of Commission for Insfrastructures and Networks (CIN)

Antonio Martusciello
Member, Commission for Services and Products (CSP)

Francesco Posterato
Member, Commission for Services and Products (CSP)

Maurizio Decina
Member,Commission for Infrastructure and Networks (CIN)

Antonio Preto
Member, Commission for Infrastructure and Networks (CIN)

Contact

Agcom’s headquarters are located in Rome at the following address:
Via Isonzo 21/b 00198 ROMA

Tel. +39 06 696441
Fax. +39 06 69644926

Website: www.agcom.it

Contact : srci@agcom.it