Responsibilities of public administration regulatory authorities include tasks aimed at fighting state monopolies and developing competition in particular sectors of the economy. The establishment of regulatory authorities, outside the scope of current governmental policy, focused on the achievement of objectives related to strategic services provided to business and community, results from commitments made during negotiations with the European Commission.
In late 80’s and in 90’s several Directives were adopted by the European Union to limit the role of service monopolies operating in the infrastructure sector. They laid down standards for public enterprises and defined the scope of universal service, inter alia in the area of telecommunications and posts.
In order to bring the Polish law in line with the European law in the field of telecommunications the National Regulatory Authority was established in 2000 for the first time.
Office of Telecommunications Regulation – from October 2000 until March 2002
One of the most important institutions introduced by the Telecommunications Act of 21 July 2000 was the President of the Office of Telecommunications Regulation (President of URT) – a regulatory authority with responsibility for telecommunications, frequency management and monitoring the requirements related to electromagnetic compatibility. The President of URT as a government administration authority combined administrative (issuance of administrative decisions) with quasi-judicial functions (resolving disputes between operators). It lacked legislative powers which remained within the remit of a Minister competent for communications.
The President of URT discharged its duties through the Office of Telecommunications Regulation (URT), established on 7 October 2000. URT took over all employees of the State Telecommunications and Postal Inspection (PITiP), an authority subordinate to the Minister of Communications, and starting from 1 January 2001, all employees of another such authority - National Radiocommunications Agency (PAR). In addition, URT took over the property, dues and liabilities of PITiP as well as the property of PAR together with its local structures. Due to the fact that certain tasks were transferred, several dozen employees with factual background officially moved from the Ministry of Communications to URT mainly to work in newly established departments responsible for the telecommunications market.
The President of URT was supervised by the Minister of Communications.
On 27 October 2000, Marek Zdrojewski was appointed the President of URT by the decision of the Polish Prime Minister. Following his resignation, the function was performed by Kazimierz Ferenc from 12 October 2001 to 31 March 2002.
The scope of President’s of URT activity covered in particular:
Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation – from April 2002 until January 2006
Starting from 1 April 2002, a new central-level government authority – the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (President of URTiP) was established. This authority was established to replace the President of the Office of Telecommunications Regulation which was liquidated on 31 March 2002 under Article 1(1)(1)(h) and Article 6(1) of the Act of 1 March 2002 on modifications to the structure and functioning of central-level government administration authorities and their subordinate units and on amendments to certain acts.
The President of URTiP was supervised by the Minister competent for communications, this function being at the time performed by the Minister of Infrastructure.
Starting from 1 April 2002, Witold Graboś was appointed to the position of the President of URTiP.
The President of URTiP discharges its duties through the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP). The establishment of URTiP was one of the elements in an administration system reform aimed at reducing the costs of public administration functioning in Poland. A newly established URTiP underwent a reorganisation in order to allocate public resources in a more economical manner and to meet the existing and new statutory tasks imposed on the President of URTiP.
In specific cases indicated by the law, the President of URTiP was obliged to cooperate with other supreme and central-level public administration authorities, in particular with the National Broadcasting Council (in the field of frequency management) and with the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (in the field of telecommunications and postal markets regulation and in product market surveillance).
The powers and duties of the President of URTiP were defined, first of all, in the Telecommunications Act of 21 July 2000 and in other acts and secondary legislation regulating the fields of telecommunications, radiocommunication and posts.
The President of URTiP shaped the position of a national telecommunications regulator through pursuing activities designed to achieve the objectives laid down in the Telecommunications Act and in particular to:
The above-mentioned objectives were pursued by adopting regulatory decisions within the statutory competence of the President of URTiP as well as by monitoring compliance of entities providing telecommunications, postal and radiocommunication services with the provisions of law and individual administrative decisions issued under that law.
The scope of the President’s of URTiP duties was also specified by the Postal Act. In addition, the Act of 30 August 2002 on the conformity assessment system established the President of URTiP a specialised authority with respect to the monitoring of products emitting electromagnetic field or susceptible to such field, including apparatus and telecommunications devices placed on the market.
On 3 September 2004, a new Telecommunications Act entered into force. The provisions of this act imposed many new duties on the President of URTiP of which the most important ones included: consultation and consolidation proceedings, mediation in disputes between consumers and providers of publicly available telecommunications services and in disputes involving undertakings or new approach to the analysis of competition in 18 relevant markets. In addition, the new act introduced an institution of a Consumer Arbitration Court.
Office of Electronic Communications – since January 2006
On 14 January 2006, under the Act of 29 December 2005 on transformations and modifications to the division of tasks and powers of state bodies competent for communications and broadcasting, a new central-level government administration body – the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE) was established in place of the central-level government administration body – the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (President of URTiP) which was liquidated on 13 January 2006. This act defined the principles for the transfer of tasks and powers between state bodies responsible for communications and broadcasting and the principles, scope and mode of transformations within the communications administration.
The President of UKE is supervised by the Minister competent for communications (currently the Minister of Transport who is also responsible for communications).
Starting from 14 January 2006, Anna Streżyńska performed the duties of the President of UKE and was a Deputy Minister for communications at the same time. Since 5 May 2006 she has been the President of UKE, appointed to this position of by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland.
On 27 January 2012, the Sejm with the consent of the Senate appointed to the post of the President of UKE Mrs Magdalena Gaj, which in 2009-2011 was the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure, responsible for dealing with telecommunications and post market.
The President of UKE assumed the tasks and powers that had so far rested within the competence of the President of URTiP as well as certain powers of the President of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). This in particular refers to the following issues: