AgCom publishes the Resolutions defining the new obligations for online search engines and online intermediaries

By Federico Marini Balestra, Lucia Antonazzi, Chiara Horgan

07-2021

With the Italian Budget Law 2021 (Law no. 178/2020), the Italian legislator has implemented EU Regulation 2019/1150 (“P2B Regulation”), entrusting the Authority for Communications Guarantees (“AgCom”) with the role of ensuring the correct and effective application of the P2B Regulation. It establishes that online search engines and online intermediation service providers will have to comply with the obligations to register to the Italian Register of Communications Operators (“ROC”) and are obligated to pay an annual contribution to the Authority (for a more in-depth analysis of the subject, see the alert available at the following link).

In the last few weeks, AgCom, following the new powers assigned to it by Law no. 178/2020, has approved several Resolutions, through which it has started to implement these new regulatory obligations.

  • Registration with the Italian Registry of Communications Operators (known as “ROC” in Italian)

With Resolution no. 200/21/CONS, AgCom amended Resolution no. 666/08/CONS (“ROC Regulation”), regulating the practical procedures for online search engines and online intermediaries to register to the ROC.

Resolution no. 200/21/CONS does not lay down a deadline by which online search engines and providers of online intermediation services must register to the ROC. Consequently, art. 5, paragraph 5, of Resolution no. 666/08/CONS, according to which operators are required to register within 60 days of the date of commencement of their activities, is deemed applicable to the case at stake. The deadline of 60 days for online intermediaries already operating in the relevant markets in Italy will run from the date of publication of Resolution no. 200/21/CONS. The deadline for registration with the ROC therefore expires on 6 September 2021. 

  • Obligation to submit Informativa Economica di Sistema (“IES”) 

Following the adoption of Law no. 178/2020, AgCom also adopted Resolution no. 161/21/CONS, amending Resolution no. 397/13/CONS regarding the Informativa Economica di Sistema (IES). 

The IES is a declaration, including economic and corporate data, which certain categories of companies operating in the TMT sector must submit to AgCom on an annual basis in order to enable AgCom to collect the information necessary to carry out certain tasks (such as market analyses, preparation of the annual report to Parliament, fact-finding surveys, etc.). 

With Resolution no. 161/21/CONS, AgCom deemed it appropriate to “extend the annual IES reporting obligation to online intermediation services and online search engines, in order to annually collect the relevant information and carry out the activities aimed at ensuring the adequate and effective application of Regulation 2019/1150 and the exercise of the related functions assigned to AgCom by Law no. 178/2020”. The deadline for sending the IES is 30 September 2021.

With specific reference to the IES, AgCom has also issued specific guidelines that illustrate the procedures to be followed for the compilation of the related forms. 

  • Payment of an annual contribution to AgCom

Finally, with regard to the obligation to pay an annual contribution to AgCom, to cover the administrative expenses incurred by the Authority in carrying out its institutional functions, AgCom has not yet adopted the resolution that will implement this regulatory obligation, establishing the deadline for payment. 

We expect a further update from AgCom after the summer break.