The Department of Electronic Communications (DEC) of the Ministry of Communications and Works holds the responsibility for radio communication, information society, electronic signatures and space.
Radiocommunications legislation assigns DEC the responsibility pertaining to the management of the radio spectrum and in general, the regulation of radio communications, including satellite communications, as well as market surveillance of radio equipment. Furthermore, DEC is responsible for drawing up plans for radio and television coverage. Additionally, the Department of Electronic Communications advises the Minister of Communications and Works on all matters relating to electronic communications and represents Cyprus in international organizations and committees of the European Union.
The Department of Electronic Communications has been appointed as the executive section of the Ministry of Communications and Works for the design and implementation of a comprehensive national strategy for the Information Society, as well as the competent authority for the promotion and implementation in Cyprus of the legislative framework for electronic signatures. The DEC has also been assigned jurisdiction on the European Space Policy, including the GALILEO Program, as well as the relations of the Republic with the European Space Agency.
More specifically, the activities of the Department of Electronic Communications cover the following areas:
Regarding the Radiocommunications:
(a) The Department of Electronic Communications is the competent authority for the implementation of the provisions of the law relating to radiocommunications on:
(i) planning the use of the radio spectrum and managing the national radio spectrum plan,
(ii) evaluating and introducing new technologies in Cyprus,
(iii) authorizing all radio communication systems and determining relevant fees,
(iv) supervising the use of the radio spectrum by authorized organizations and detecting illegal systems,
(v) carrying out measurements and studies regarding public exposure to electromagnetic fields,
(vi) managing satellite resources of the Republic,
(vii) monitoring radio equipment,
(viii) approving the bodies for radio equipment.
(b) The provision of consultancy services to various government agencies, including the Police and the National Guard, on all matters relating to radio communications.
(c) The representation of the Republic in international and regional organizations in the field of electronic communications and the management of the obligations of the Republic arising from international conventions of these organizations, on technical, regulatory, administrative and other related topics. These organizations include the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT).
(d) The representation of the Republic to the European Union Committees, such as the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), the Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC), the Telecommunications Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance Committee (TCAM) and the Communications Committee (CoCom).
Information Society Section
The Ministerial Council has assigned the Minister of Communications and Works the political responsibility for the Information Society. The executive branch, with respect to the charting and implementation of a comprehensive national strategy for the Information Society, is the Department of Electronic Communications. In addition, the Cabinet has approved the setting-up of an Advisory Committee, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works, and has asked of each Ministry to designate a coordinator for the Information Society, who inform the Director of the Department of Electronic Communications regarding the progress achieved in the respective Ministry.
DEC, in cooperation with the Advisory Committee for the Information Society and the relevant implementing agencies, has prepared a document for the digital strategy of Cyprus, which was approved by the Council of Ministers. The said digital strategy, with a horizon until 2020, has a holistic approach and includes:
- connecting the whole of Cyprus with high-speed networks, so that all citizens have access to broadband infrastructure and high quality, high speed and safe services,
- digital modernization of Government services and provision of effective and efficient public electronic services accessible to all,
- reinforcement of human resources through education and training of all citizens, including vulnerable groups, to be able to use the Information Technologies and Communications (ICT) and digital media for work purposes and for processing their daily transactions
- promoting the use of ICT by the private sector, so that businesses can increase productivity by introducing innovative practices,
- taking measures that will contribute to green growth, where the use of digital technologies will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, a horizontal measure is provided for, namely the communication plan, which is the responsibility of the Department of Electronic Communications. As part of the said communication plan, a website has been launched, called “Digital Cyprus” (www.digitalcyprus.gov.cy). This website presents the digital strategy and operations it includes, with a view to act as an observatory for monitoring and updating all stakeholders in relation to the development and progress of the various activities of digital strategy in Cyprus.
Electronic Signatures Section
The Electronic Signatures Section is responsible for the promotion and implementation of the legislative framework for electronic signatures. At the same time, it represents the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union Committee on Implementation of Services Directive – Electronic Procedures.
Following the decision of the Ministerial Council, the Department of Electronic Communications has been assigned the coordinating role on matters of European Space Policy, including the GALILEO/EGNOS Program, the Copernicus Program (ex-GMES), as well as the relations of the Republic with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Objectives of the national space policy include:
- The emergence of the Republic of Cyprus as the country of production and operating expertise in space applications (e.g. navigation, earth observation, communications),
- The emergence of Cyprus as a core business area for overseeing and organizing disaster rescue operations in case of earthquake, fire, accidents at sea, and border surveillance,
- Setting up a monitoring network and organizing of marine plants extracting oil or natural gas,
- The development of technological research culture in Cypriot society and the proper education of youth,
- The development of partnerships with international organizations (e.g. ESA) related to space,
- Exploiting synergies with other national strategies and actions (e.g. Digital Strategy and the National Strategy for Research),
- The participation in European programs and the encouragement of research and innovation,
- Attracting foreign capital, creating new jobs and repatriating a large portion of Cypriot scientists,
- Defining policy which will facilitate the transfer of technology from academia to industry,
- The preparation of a clear strategy that sets priorities and guidelines within the framework of local opportunities, abilities and goals,
- The signing of the Cooperation Agreement ECS (European Cooperative State) with ESA.
The vision of the Department of Electronic Communications is to make Cyprus a knowledge society and to contribute to the establishment of the country as a regional hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, providing high quality electronic communications services to both citizens and organizations operating within Cyprus, but also in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
To achieve this ambitious vision, the Department promotes the technologies of information and communication at all levels. Cypriot Digital Strategy is based on the “Digital Agenda for Europe” and the “Europe 2020”. The vision of the Digital Strategy is for the information technology and communications to support the growth and competitiveness of the economy and for citizens to be active in society, culture and political life.
The aim of the Department is the development of e-skills and digital literacy, as well as the achievement of universal broadband access by providing broadband services in both urban and rural areas, so that all citizens have the ability to use computer applications and services, including public services.
To make the Information Society a reality, the Department promotes the development of competition, the rapid introduction of new technologies in Cyprus, attracting investment and providing high quality services at affordable prices. Especially, in wireless technologies, a prerequisite is the interference-free operation of radio systems, in ways that radio transmissions consider public health.
Moreover, the transition of Cyprus into electronic society requires effective implementation of the legislation on electronic signatures so that electronic signatures can be established and widely used in various transactions of citizens and businesses.
Finally, active participation in space programs of the EU (GALILEO/EGNOS and GMES/Copernicus) and the European Space Agency will assist in research and development, as well as other sensitive areas of the economy that use radar applications such as shipping and air navigation.
For further information:
Department of Electronic Communications website: http://www.mcw.gov.cy/dec