CNMC approves draft wholesale broadband measure, sends proposal to EC

19 Nov 2015

Spanish telecoms regulator the Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) has announced the approval of a draft measure regulating the nation’s wholesale broadband markets. Having analysed the level of competition in the sector, the watchdog has identified fixed line incumbent Telefonica Espana (Movistar) as holding significant market power (SMP), and has said it will impose a number of obligations on the telco, though it noted that as competition differed by territory, obligations would be varied geographically.

The CNMC identified 34 municipalities where there was competition in next generation networks (i.e. fibre optic and DOCSIS 3.0-enabled cable); in these locations at least three fibre and/or HFC networks covered 20% of the municipality’s centre. The regulator said these areas represent around 26% of the population, and Movistar will not be required to open its fibre infrastructure to alternative operators, but will be expected to provide a wholesale offering. Alongside this, the CNMC conducted a market share study, in which it identified 703 areas where Movistar accounted for less than 30% of broadband lines. The CNMC confirmed that in these ‘competitive broadband areas’ all wholesale obligations related to indirect access would be removed. In non-competitive areas, meanwhile, an indirect wholesale service must be offered. With regard to Spain’s business broadband market, the CNMC noted that there was a lower level of competition in this sector, with Movistar having retained a significant and stable market share over time. As such, as per the regulatory proposal a wholesale bitstream offer for both copper- and fibre-based services will be required nationwide.

The draft measure has now been sent to the European Commission (EC), as well as Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. These agencies have a month to make comments, which will be incorporated into the final decision by the CNMC.

In separate but related news, Reuters reports that Movistar parent company Telefonica is considering halting investments in the wake of the publication of the CNMC’s recommendations.