Portugal’s National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes, ANACOM) has announced that it is maintaining its decision not to impose access regulation on the fibre-optic infrastructure owned by PT Portugal (MEO), putting it firmly at odds with the European Commission (EC) which opened an ‘in-depth investigation’ into the watchdog’s standpoint in August 2016. A statement on the regulator’s website reads: ‘ANACOM considers that its decision is the one that best safeguards the interests of the country and of citizens, promoting coverage of the territory by next generation networks [NGN] and combating digital exclusion. Portugal is a unique case in Europe and a case of success in terms of the development of next generation networks, not only due to the high level of territorial coverage but also due to the fact that competition exists based on multiple network infrastructures.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, ANACOM has divided the Portuguese territory into two distinct geographic retail markets: ‘competitive’ parishes (mostly urban areas where alternative operators are present with significant coverage of NGNs and/or a limited market share by MEO) and ‘non-competitive’ parishes (mostly rural, where MEO is by far the strongest provider of broadband services). As such, ANACOM declared its intention not to regulate access to MEO’s fibre network in the ‘non-competitive’ areas, thus falling foul of EU rules.