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How to become a PEPPOL Access Point provider

by Enrique Vich created on 22/05/2012 06:15

With growing demand from the IT industry to connect to the PEPPOL network, more and more service providers are deciding to set up Access Points. To address these needs, PEPPOL has published the guidelines for Access Point providers, covering legal, organisational and technical aspects.


PEPPOL opens up a new dimension in public eProcurement with extended market connectivity and EU-wide interoperability, facilitating seamless electronic communication across borders.

Through agreement on specifications for cross-border procurement processes, the European Commission’s co-funded pilot project PEPPOL has contributed to the development of a standards-based IT infrastructure that can serve as a backbone for eProcurement in Europe.


The PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure can be considered as providing a ‘gateway’ or ‘bridge’ between specific eProcurement communities or service platforms. PEPPOL has not replaced, but built upon, the existing strengths of national eProcurement systems by using information and communication technologies to enable them to connect with each other.

 Access to the PEPPOL infrastructure takes place through Access Points (operated by Access Point providers) in a similar way to how sending and receiving email requires access to an Internet mail server (provided by Internet Service Providers). Using common open standards, these Access Points ensure legal, organisational and technical interoperability.


A PEPPOL Access Point may be provided by any organization that enters into the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreement governing Access Point providers, that implements the PEPPOL business processes and document formats relevant to their service offering. Access Point providers typically connect to their customers through their existing networks and use the PEPPOL Access Point to exchange documents with other Access Point providers.


The PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure provides an interoperable and secure network connecting all Access Points using the same electronic messaging protocol and applying digital signature technologies to secure message content. Exchanging electronic documents for post-award processes (such as eCatalogues, eOrders and eInvoicing) requires access and use of the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure, while this is optional for pre-award processes. Once connected to the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure, public agencies and private enterprises can reach any other eProcurement community already using PEPPOL.


The Guidelines on “How to become a PEPPOL Access Point provider” include information relative to the decision process, taking into account the commercial, legal, operational aspects and detailed technical requirements. The growing number of Access Points in Europe will facilitate the shift from the piloting project phase to the market driven adoption of PEPPOL.


With the official end of the PEPPOL pilot phase this year, as a part of the Large Scale Pilot (LSPs) projects of the European Commission, a long-term sustainability roadmap has been agreed. This roadmap includes establishing “OpenPEPPOL” as a non-profit, international association to ensure high level governance, continuation of the infrastructure agreements and to promote wider use of PEPPOL based eProcurement solutions in Europe.


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