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Georgia - ICT Development - Harmonisation of Laws and Acceleration of Broadband Roll-out



Business sector:

Telecoms, informatics and media

Funding source:

EBRD - Slovak Republic TC Fund

Contract type:

Consultancy Services

Notice type:

Invitation for expressions of interest (CSU)

Issue date:

18 Sep 2015

Closing date:

09 Oct 2015   at  23:59   London

Access eSelection

Project Description: In an effort to ensure that Georgia takes the fullest benefit from policy, legal, regulatory and technological developments in the information communications technology (ICT) sector the Government of Georgia (the Government), through the Ministry for Economy and Sustainable Development (MoESD) and the Georgia National Communications Commission (GNCC) (the Beneficiaries) have undertaken substantial reforms within the sector aimed at ensuring full liberalisation based upon harmonisation with the relevant European Union (EU) policies, laws and regulations. GNCC wishes to continue this reform agenda by fully harmonising with current EU acquis and adopting, and implementing proven EU practises, particularly in the area of the acceleration of roll-out of broadband internet connectivity. To help continue implementation of these reforms GNCC has requested the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). EBRD has agreed to provide support to GNCC, and will retain external consulting advisors (the Consultant) to help with implementation of the project of technical cooperation (the Assignment) described herein.

Assignment Description: The objective of the Assignment is three-fold. Firstly, the Project will increase the harmonisation of the Georgian legal/regulatory framework for ICT with that of the EU. Secondly, the Assignment will support the modernisation of regulatory implementation and practises, based upon the existing legal framework, or on that framework as amended in the legislative harmonisation process also due to be undertaken as part of this Assignment. Thirdly, the Assignment will look to support initiatives of GNCC and/or MoESD in their efforts to attract or accelerate the roll-out of high-speed broadband infrastructure and services throughout Georgia.

Within the Assignment the Consultant will be expected to perform all the tasks of Component 1 and 2 and may be required to support selected tasks of Component 3 (or tasks related thereto), as follows:

Component 1: Harmonisation of legislation:
(a) Identification of the legislative steps (primary and secondary legislation) necessary for harmonisation of all relevant aspects of Georgia’s ICT and audio-visual media legislative frameworks with that of the EU;
(b) Preparation of “legislation action plans” with a list of defined and prioritised documents for drafting the necessary new or amended legislation in the ICT and audio-visual media legislative frameworks;
(c) Preparation of the required document drafts, i.e. actual text and any accompanying explanatory memoranda or concept notes necessary for consultation (together with GNCC and the ministries, as required), ensuring that the new legal and regulatory framework will fully meet the requirements for harmonisation, as defined in the Georgia/EU Association Agreement and taking account of best practice in the EU, including the EU 2014/61 Directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks;
(d) Support for the legislative amendment process including proposal, consultation, report on consultation, presentation and briefing to stakeholders (including ministries and parliamentarians) and in dealing with any other relevant matters that arise whilst the revised legislation is being presented to parliament.

Component 2: Regulatory development and modernisation
(I) Universal service and measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks:
(a) Support for implementation of universal service provisions (as required by the harmonised legislation) so that consumers have their rights updated to the broadband era, including services for disadvantaged customers;
(b) Preparation of an implementation plan for Georgia to adopt fully the required universal service provisions, taking into account the specific provisions of the Georgia/ EU Association Agreement, with reference to the establishment of mechanisms for costing and financing, — ensuring the respect of users' interests and rights;
(c) Support for the public consultation process on the implementation plan for the adoption of the required universal service provisions prior to their finalisation and adoption, including drafting of any necessary legislative amendments or regulations, together with support necessary to achieve their approval and adoption by relevant authorities;
(d) Review of regulatory, state authorisation and application procedures for the construction and deployment of high-speed electronic communication networks and prepare recommendations for the reduction of cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks in accordance with the EU 2014/61 Directive;

(II) Radio spectrum
(a) Analysis of the current status of spectrum management practices in Georgia, taking into account the recent progress made with spectrum liberalisation, technical neutrality and re-farming;
(b) Recommendations for spectrum management practices that will ensure full harmonisation with best practice to achieve maximum market efficiency and flexibility, including progress towards full technical and service neutrality, easier transferability and maximising the uptake of broadband in Georgia;
(c) Examination of the current spectrum allocation practises and their status with respect to international practise, including the regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy and taking into account the outcome of the World Radio Conference 2015;
(d) Recommendations on the method of assignment of future “digital dividend” spectrum, taking into account the current assignments and the best practice methods employed in the EU and elsewhere to ensure the most economic outcome in terms of spectrum efficiency, broadband service growth (especially in rural areas) and expected spectrum demand;
(e) Support for the design of the assignment procedure for digital dividend spectrum, including the expected competitive bidding process involving the announcement of the terms of the contest, the running of the contest and the selection of the winners of the contest;

(III) Market analysis
(a) Review of the existing practices for market analysis and preparation of recommendations to ensure full alignment with best practises, taking into account the current market definitions used in the EU, and using recent experience in analysing and resolving competition and investment issues in these markets;
(b) Review of the existing markets defined in Georgia that are subject to ex-ante regulation and preparation of recommendations for changes to this list, based on the current level of competitiveness achieved in Georgia and on the current recommendations used in the EU, including the choice of symmetric and asymmetric market remedies that will improve the efficiency of market investments, particularly in broadband infrastructure;
(c) Support for the full review process for the relevant markets in infrastructure and broadband, including the market definitions to be used, the application of the market analysis criteria using examples from other countries, the designation of significant market power and the proposal of proportionate market remedies, based on the need to improve competitiveness, investment and consumer choice;
(d) Support for the drafting of explanatory notes, including technical documentation for definition of technical details of broadband infrastructure.
(e) Support for the full market consultation process on the review of relevant markets, including any changes to the analysis and recommended market remedies arising from the public consultation;
(f) Support for the implementation of the proposed market remedies and the procedures required to ensure the compliance of the market players;

(IV) Mergers and acquisitions regulation
(a) Review of the existing practices for the regulation of mergers and acquisitions and preparation of recommendations to ensure full alignment with best practises;
(b) Preparation of specific regulations for the implementation of recommendations;
(c) Support for the review and assessment of cases at GNCCs disposal, including the review of relevant markets, prepare reports, draft public consultation documents, engage in public consultations, propose market remedies and draft relevant decisions;
(d) Support for the implementation of the proposed market remedies and the procedures.

Component 3: Broadband implementation analysis and plan:
EBRD wishes to support GNCC and MoESD in the implementation of specific measures aimed at attracting new investment or accelerating planned investment into the roll-out of high-speed broadband infrastructure and services throughout Georgia, particular outside urban centres. It is envisaged that this support may begin at, or toward, the conclusion of activities that MoESD is understood to be separately undertaking on identifying, costing and designing measures which will support their objectives in this respect. It is understood that MoESD will themselves undertake some or all of the following activities, as a separate project managed and funded by MoESD, in his respect:
• Demand analysis
• Design and modelling of the network
• Implementation planning
• Cost and revenue, business and investment models
• Overall economic cost and benefit
• An overview of international best practices
• Policy, legal, regulatory & investor perception review
• Output and recommendations
The Consultant may be expected to support all or selected aspects of the above mentioned Component 3 tasks, subject to the Bank’s approval and the operational demand of the Beneficiaries.

Status of Selection Process: Interested firms or groups of firms are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest.

Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in November 2015 and has an estimated overall duration of 18 months.

Maximum Cost Estimate for the Assignment: in the range of EUR 500,000 to EUR 630,000 (exclusive of VAT). Subject to availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank and the Beneficiaries, the Assignment may be extended beyond the above referenced maximum cost estimate and scope.

The Consultant must determine whether any VAT would be chargeable on the services and the basis for that determination, without taking into consideration the special status of the Bank as an IFI and state this to the Bank in their response to the Invitation for Expressions of Interest. To the extent that a Consultant incurs input VAT on goods and services purchased in connection with the provision of services (e.g. VAT on airline ticket) which is not otherwise recoverable by the consultant from the local tax authority, the gross cost to the consultant of such expenses shall be treated as a reimbursable expense.

Funding Source: It is expected that the Assignment will be funded by the Government of the Slovak Republic through the Slovak Republic - EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund. Please note selection and contracting will be subject to the availability of funding.

Eligibility: Consultancy firms shall be registered in the Slovak Republic and the individual experts proposed must be citizens or permanent residents of the Slovak Republic. However, up to a maximum of 30% of the maximum contract amount may be used to finance services of other nationalities, including local experts who are nationals of Georgia or consultancy firms of Georgia.

Consultant Profile: Corporate services are required. The Consultant will be a firm or a group of firms which should have previous project experience related to the specific tasks set out above, including:
• Legal harmonisation in the electronic communications and ICT sector
• Regulatory development and modernisation
• Broadband analysis, planning and implementation
• as well as experience in directly advising European Union national regulatory authorities

The Project team should consist of key experts with the following expertise:
• Team leader;
• Legal specialist(s);
• Regulatory/policy specialist(s);
• Competition specialist(s), with market analysis and merger regulation experience;
• Economic specialist(s), including with specific experience of projects involving broadband infrastructure investments at a national and local level;
• Financial/costing specialist(s);
• Technical specialists.

The team leader will preferably possess over 15 years substantive experience in the Project subject matter. All individual experts should be appropriately qualified and with preferably more than 10 years proven experience in their discipline areas in projects similar to this Project. All individual experts should have substantive experience in the electronic communications sector.

Submission Requirements: In order to determine the capability and experience of Consultants seeking to be shortlisted for this Assignment, the information submitted should include the following:

1. Company/group of firms’ profile, organisation and staffing (max. 2-4 pages).
2. Details of previous project experience or similar assignments particularly undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contract value, contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided (if different from duration) , main activities, objectives.
3. CVs of key experts who could carry out the Assignment detailing qualifications, experience in similar assignments, particularly assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, main activities, objectives.
4. Completed Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet, the template for which is available from the following web-link:
The above information should not exceed 15 pages excluding CVs and contact sheet.

The complete expression of interest (including CVs, Consultant Declaration and Contact Sheet) should be submitted, in English electronically through e-Selection, to reach the Bank not later than the closing date. The expression of interest shall be one file (pdf). The EBRD reserves the right to reject applications of firms submitting more than one file. Only if the permissible file size is exceeded (4MB), the Consultant may split the expression of interest into further files.

Bank Contact Person:
Sophie Medert
Technical Co-operation
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
Tel: + 44 20 7338 7371
e-mail: (submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address)

1. Following this invitation for expressions of interest, a shortlist of qualified firms will be formally invited to submit proposals. Consultant selection and contracting will be subject to availability of funding.

2. The shortlist criteria are:
(a) Firm's or group of firms' previous project experience in tasks similar to those described in this notice (10%);
(b) Firm’s experience of advising EU national telecom regulatory authorities (10%);
(c) CV of Team Leader (25%);
(d) CVs of other key experts as listed above (55%);

3. Please note that the Maximum Cost Estimate for the Assignment is given in the range of EUR 500,000 to EUR 630,000 (exclusive of VAT).

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