Commission issues proposals to boost fibre competition

22 Sep 2008

On 18 September the European Commission launched a public consultation on its proposed regulatory guidelines to improve access to fibre-optic high speed broadband networks in European Union (EU) member states. The Commission’s proposals include directives for national telecoms regulators to force dominant fixed network operators to offer rivals access to next-generation network (NGN) fibre infrastructure at the lowest possible level, including cable ducts for co-location of alternative fibre networks. EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding stated, ‘We want to reduce the scope for divergences of regulatory approaches across Europe, in the interest of legal certainty. Uncoordinated or even contradictory action of national regulators as regards NGNs could seriously damage competition and undermine Europe’s single market. We propose in particular that project-specific risk premiums should be applied, so that competition can flourish while those who invest are rewarded in line with the risks they have incurred.’ High-profile fibre NGN rollouts by Deutsche Telekom, BT and Telefonica have resulted in ongoing uncertainty and debate at the respective regulators in Germany, the UK and Spain.