FICORA issues updated decisions on local loop, wholesale broadband obligations

5 Dec 2012

The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) has published a number of decisions related to the obligations imposed on those operators deemed to have significant market power (SMP) in the local loop and wholesale broadband access markets. The announcement comes just a month after the watchdog revealed that it planned to amend the obligations due to the European Commission (EC) having said that its initial proposals were ‘insufficient’.

Under FICRORA’s revised decisions, in the wholesale broadband market it has confirmed it will apply ‘lighter regulation’ to those products offering a connection speed of below 8Mbps, with operators only obliged to publish tariff information and delivery terms for such products. However, the obligations to lease out wholesale broadband services and ensure non-discriminatory pricing will remain in force for services with a connection speed of 8Mbps and above. Further, FICORA has stated that full deregulation in the wholesale broadband access market will be applied to TeliaSonera Finland in the municipalities of Kitee, Korsnas, Laukaa, Narpio and Polvijarvi, while rival Elisa will be freed from obligations in the municipalities of Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa.

Meanwhile, with regards to price caps for major undertakings in the local loop market, FICORA has said that it will impose stricter regulation on the market’s eight ‘most relevant’ SMP operators, those being: AinaCom, Anviaj, DNA, Elisa, KYMP, SSP Yhtiot, PPO-Yhtiot and TeliaSonera Finland. Noting that it plans to move to ex-ante regulation of pricing, the regulator said that it is imposing undertakings aimed at ensuring cost-oriented, maximum prices with regard to monthly leases and installation charges of local loops. Operator-specific maximum prices are expected to be determined in 2013 through additional regulatory decisions. In addition, FICORA has said that decisions issued for a further 19 operators that have ‘less significance for the markets’ will provide for significantly lighter regulation; these telcos will only be obliged to apply non-discriminatory pricing, rather than ensure cost-oriented pricing.

Smaller alternative operator Keikyan Puhelin Osuuskunta, which is part of the Finnet Group, will also no longer face regulation in both the local loop and wholesale broadband markets, with FICORA noting that the operator ‘was no longer considered to have significant market power in the area where it offers broadband services’.

The final decisions will enter into force on 1 March 2013, and with the prices for local loop services to be capped later, FICORA has stipulated that SMP operators must set the prices of their local loop products in a cost-oriented manner before this.