EC price proposal would lead to higher costs for consumers, BEREC says

27 Mar 2013

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has challenged draft proposals by the European Commission (EC) to set specific fees for telecoms operators seeking access to copper networks, Reuters reports. The national regulators said they believe that the plans would lead to higher charges for consumers in ten EU countries, adding that established network operators should have freedom to adjust prices to take into account factors in their domestic markets. Three months ago the EC unveiled draft proposals to boost broadband investment in the region, suggesting that monthly rental access prices for legacy copper networks should range between EUR8 (USD10.3) and EUR10 (USD12.9) per customer by the end of 2016, which would enable established telecoms firms to increase investment in high speed networks. However, BEREC said the proposed rates would mean higher charges for users in a number of markets, including Austria, Netherlands, Poland and Hungry, all of which currently offer rates below EUR8. ‘BEREC would welcome the Commission’s explicit clarification in the final Recommendation that the EUR8-EUR10 per month price range is not mandatory and that prices outside this range are acceptable if they can be objectively justified,’ the body said in a non-binding opinion.