The designation of Portugal?s communications regulatory body, previously known as the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal (ICP), changed on 6 January 2002 to ICP - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ICP-ANACOM) with the entrance into force of the new statutes approved by Decree-Law no. 309/2001 of 7 December.
The enactment of said measure aimed primarily to bring together in one single legal text a set of attributions enshrined in separate measures, specifically following on transposition of the acquis communautaire, that defined the accessory duties ascribed to national regulatory authorities over the past decade, which saw preparation of liberalisation of the communications sector, including telecommunications and postal services.
Beyond changing the respective designation and its organic-institutional framework, ICP-ANACOM?s powers and procedures of authority were strengthened and the instruments it uses made more flexible, at legal level and vis-à-vis the economic-financial regime.
With the new measure, ICP-ANACOM, which continued the legal entity of the ICP, is no longer bound by its previous legal status as a public institute and has taken on that of a corporation under public law. Without interrupting its institutional continuity, the comprehensive and integrated scope of the ICP?s role and its strengthened cohesion were thus assured, as a true authority for the regulation and supervision of communications. The characteristics of ICP-ANACOM?s independence were also reinforced from the organic and functional standpoints, with the particularity of a direct relationship with Parliament.
Therefore, the Authority must thus annually submit to the Government, also for presentation to Parliament, a report on its regulatory activities. Simultaneously, the Chairman of the Board of Administration shall also answer, when solicited for that purpose, requests for hearings from the appropriate committee of Parliament, to provide information or clarification on the Authority?s activities (article 51).
The ICP-ANACOM Board of Administration must also draw up a report, again as per the statutes, on the situation of communications and on its regulatory and supervision activities, to be submitted to the minister of tutelage and released to the public (article 26, paragraph d)).
The new statutes likewise strengthened the normative power needed for ICP-ANACOM to efficiently carry out its respective attributions. Besides issuing binding tangible and individual acts and formulating tangible recommendations, filing and overseeing legal cases and punishing infractions within its powers, ensuring compliance with laws and applicable regulations in the communications sector, and monitoring the activity of entities subject to its supervision and the working of the communications market, the Authority may thus issue regulations deemed necessary for it to exercise its functions.
In the course of 2002, and without jeopardising its organic and functional independence, ICP-ANACOM became subject to the Ministry of the Economy. Decree-law no. 120/2002 of 3 May (Organic Law of the 15th Constitutional Government), effective from 6 April 2002, had endorsed the transfer from the old Ministry of Social Equipment to the Ministry of the Economy of those services and bodies with attributions and powers in the area of postal service and telecommunications.