FICORA updates wholesale broadband access proposals

5 Nov 2012

Finnish telecoms regulator FICORA has announced that it is amending the obligations in the wholesale broadband markets for those operators determined as holding significant market power (SMP). In confirming its plans, the watchdog said it was making the changes due to the European Commission (EC) having said that its initial proposals were ‘insufficient’.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2012 the EC confirmed that it would examine in more detail whether FICORA should allow regional telcos to provide access to their broadband networks to alternative operators without proper pricing regulation. In announcing its plans, the EC noted that it had doubts that ‘FICORA’s decision not to impose cost-oriented prices for access to fibre networks of dominant operators in Finland contravenes EU telecoms rules’. The Finnish watchdog’s plans, the EC had claimed, could negatively affect competition in the country’s broadband sector, while also hampering the future development of both fibre and copper infrastructure. Further, the Commission has suggested that, in the absence of ‘proper regulation’, Finland’s dominant broadband operators would be in a position to charge access rates at ‘excessive levels’. Subsequently, last month the EC called on FICORA to either amend or withdraw proposals related to the regulation of access to the broadband networks of the country’s dominant operators.

In announcing its latest plans, FICORA has confirmed that, based on the opinions it has received from industry players, and coupled with the Commission’s recommendation, the eight most relevant SMP operators with respect to the Finnish wholesale markets will be imposed with the obligation to comply with regulator-determined price caps for the pricing of fibre-optic local loops. Such operators will be required to apply the price caps ‘even in the pricing of metallic local loops’. The price caps themselves, meanwhile, are expected to be set later in separate decisions, with a consultation on them to be conducted by 31 December 2013.

FICORA has also revealed an amendment to its draft decision in the market for wholesale broadband services under which an obligation to publish delivery terms and tariff information will be imposed on wholesale broadband services with a connection speed under 8Mbps. The regulator noted that it is currently consulting stakeholders on the amended regulatory propositions and will issue final decisions ‘as soon as possible’.