Norway’s National Communications Authority (Nasjonal kommunikasjonsmyndighet, Nkom) has published details of changes to the obligations applied to Telenor Norge, in light of the telco’s plans to replace its copper network with new technology by the end of 2022. In a press release regarding the matter, the regulator noted that previously, in December 2018, it had determined Telenor as holding significant market power (SMP) in Market 3a, wholesale local access provided at a fixed location, and Market 3b, wholesale central access provided at a fixed location for mass-market products. Based on competition problems it had identified, as part of the determination the Nkom ruled that Telenor would be subject to obligations related to access and pricing. Now, as a result of Telenor’s plans for its infrastructure, the watchdog has said this development will impact the competition problems underlying the telco’s existing obligations in the broadband market. As such, it has sought to clarify Telenor’s obligations, arguing that there is a need to change the content and scope of some of the obligations.
Specifically, the Nkom has said that fibre accesses completed by Telenor after 1 February 2019 are to be considered part of a ‘systematically expanded access network’, being that such connections are being rolled out as a replacement for copper connectivity. Fibre-based infrastructure deployed after that date will, therefore, be regulated as per the Nkom’s December 2018 decision related to markets 3a and 3b, and as such Telenor will be required to offer wholesale access to it. In addition, Telenor will now be required to report on the reclassification of individual fibre accesses (i.e. those fibre connections rolled out pre-February 2019) as the telco continues to replace its copper infrastructure. To that end, the regulator has said that individual fibre accesses should be reclassified as part of the operator’s systematically expanded access network when Telenor undertakes a new fibre development in the same area as the existing fibre lines. In addition, the telco will be required to submit reports regarding these reclassifications biannually (in March and September), with the first due to be submitted on 1 March 2020.
According to the Nkom, it is still considering whether further changes to Telenor’s SMP obligations are needed, and it has said it aims to determine whether this is the case ‘in the near future’. Comments on the initial changes to the obligations are, meanwhile, being accepted until a 27 January deadline.