Norway’s National Communications Authority (Nasjonal kommunikasjonsmyndighet, Nkom) has sent two new draft decisions related to the regulation of Telenor Norge to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). As per these proposed decisions, Telenor will be required to maintain wholesale access to its copper network for a further five years from the date of any final ruling, while it will also be compelled to offer wholesale customers access to its fixed-wireless broadband infrastructure. According to the Nkom, such measures will strengthen competition with predictable framework conditions for wholesale customers and give end users a greater choice of service providers to choose from.
With Telenor having previously announced its intention to shutter its copper network by the end of 2022, the Nkom has argued that this timeframe is too short. It has also suggested that the telco’s wholesale customers have not been given sufficient information or the opportunity to safeguard their interests. However, the regulator could allow for a faster shutdown of Telenor’s copper network; to that end, the Nkom noted that, should it offer its wholesale customers relevant replacement products for copper-based access, it could then draw up a plan for migration for copper to fibre/mobile infrastructure. It did though stipulate that any such plan would need to accept input from wholesale customers, while it would also require final approval from the Nkom.
Meanwhile, with regards to fixed-wireless broadband, the Nkom has said that it considers wholesale access as being important for competition in parts of the broadband market, being that such services are increasingly being used by customers in areas where copper-based services have been discontinued. As a result, the regulator has confirmed its intention to impose on Telenor the obligation to give other companies access to its fixed-wireless broadband infrastructure.
The ESA now has one month to comment on the Nkom’s draft decisions, following which the Norwegian regulator has said it will consider any comments made by that body and take these into account before publishing its final decisions.