CNMC finalises wholesale broadband regulations

26 Feb 2016

Spain’s Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) has confirmed it has approved the final regulations governing the wholesale broadband market (Markets 3a [direct access], 3b [residential indirect access] and 4 [business indirect access]). As a result of feedback from the EC and the Ministerio de Industria, Energia y Turismo (Minetur) on its initial draft plans from November 2015, the CNMC has opted to maintain differentiated obligations for copper and fibre-based networks belonging to fixed line incumbent Telefonica Espana (Movistar), with these obligations based on the level of competition in each geographical area.

A notable change from the regulator’s initial draft measure is the increase in the number of locations where Movistar will be exempted from opening up its fibre infrastructure. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in its original draft 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 represented around 26% of the population, and Movistar would not be required to open its fibre infrastructure to alternative operators, but would be expected to provide a wholesale offering. Now, however, the final regulation exempts 66 municipalities, equivalent to 35% of the population. In all remaining areas Movistar has 18 months to make available a virtual unbundled local access (VULA) service.

With regards to the market 3b, the CNMC has increased the number of municipalities where it considers there to be enough competition to 758, equivalent to more than seven million broadband lines (representing around 58% of the Spanish total). In these competitive areas the regulator has confirmed that it will remove all current obligations regarding indirect access within six months. Meanwhile, in those regions still lacking competition Movistar is obligated to provide indirect wholesale access over both its copper and fibre-optic networks at speeds of up to 30Mbps. By comparison, citing the lower level of competition it had found in the business sector as a whole, the CNMC has said it will force Movistar to make indirect access available to both its copper and fibre infrastructure on a nationwide basis.

Looking ahead, the CNMC will continue to monitor the development of broadband markets, particularly with regard to matters of competition, and it expects to carry out its next market review in three years, in line with European and Spanish regulation.