French former monopoly fixed line provider France Telecom (FT) says any move by EU regulators to separate telecom networks and access providers in a bid to stimulate competition could be harmful to the long-term investment in next generation networks (NGNs). The Associated Press quotes senior vice president for regulatory affairs Jacques Champeaux as saying that the plan to break-up incumbent operators ‘goes in the wrong direction’ and creates ‘a real risk for next generation networks.’ AP cites recent profit warnings from major telecoms equipment manufacturers Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as examples that there is growing concern over the level of investment being made by network operators in NGN equipment. This position is backed up by the association of European telecommunications network operators (ETNO), which argues the proposal could lead to ‘losses in efficiency and the ability to coordinate complex investment decisions.’
EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding plans to unveil her master plan for Europe’s heavyweight incumbents next week. She is believed to hold the view that more competition is needed and argues the best way to achieve this is to hive off the wholesale business from network management operations.