Offering WIFI to your customers in your premises ? Do you have to notify yourself as an operator to the Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT)?

No, at least not anymore. Pursuant to Article 8 of the Act of 31 July 2017 containing various provisions relating to electronic communications that has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette of 12 September 2017 (the Act), such a notification is only required for publicly accessible electronic communications services and public electronic communications networks (but not for private networks and services that are not publicly accessible).

The former wording of the notification obligation set out in Article 9 of the Belgian Electronic Communications Act of 13 June 2005  (the BECA) raised interpretation issues, as illustrated by the BIPT communication of 27 February 2015 (the Communication).  

There is still some uncertainty as to the exact meaning of “public(ly)”, but the parliamentary works have now made clear that Horeca companies or enterprises that offer free WIFI hotspots to their customers are not required to notify themselves to the BIPT. However, they must still cooperate with the legal authorities and the intelligence and security services (e.g. end-user’s identification), as the case may be.

The Act, the BECA, the Communication and the parliamentary works can be found on:

http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi/welcome.pl

http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi_loi/loi_a.pl?language=fr&caller=list&cn=2005061332&la=f&fromtab=loi&sql=dt=’loi’&tri=dd+as+rank&rech=1&numero=1

http://www.bipt.be/public/files/en/21430/Obligation%20to%20notify.pdf

http://www.lachambre.be/FLWB/PDF/54/2558/54K2558001.pdf