Thursday, June 11, 2009

European Commission Seeks Public Input on Next Gen Access (NGA) Networks

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on its revised proposals for the regulation of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband networks.


A previous public consultation held during the last quarter of 2008 confirmed general support for the objective of the Commission to achieve a common regulatory framework for NGA in order to foster timely investment in very high speed networks while ensuring that the competitive structure of the market is maintained. In the light of comments from stakeholders, the revised draft Recommendation includes mechanisms to allocate the investment risk between investors and operators seeking access to NGA networks.


The revised draft Recommendation would include mechanisms to allocate investment risk between investors and access seekers. In particular, to foster market-driven investment outside densely populated areas, the draft Recommendation defines conditions under which co-investment schemes could be deemed pro-competitive. Under the draft Recommendation, deployment by the dominant operator of multiple fibres could justify less stringent regulatory obligations. The competitive advantage of having multiple fibres in the ground is that it allows immediate and undistorted infrastructure competition.


In addition, the revised draft Recommendation endeavours to develop a pan-EU common regulatory approach, which telecoms regulators would adapt to national market conditions. The approach proposed by the Commission aims at driving infrastructure-based competition where it is possible and efficient, while ensuring a seamless migration from copper to fibre-based networks.


EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said: "High speed fibre networks are the new generation of broadband infrastructures in Europe. In order to give citizens and businesses across Europe access to fast broadband Internet, very large sums of private and also public money will need to be injected in the coming years. Investors therefore need to know the rules of the game. The aim of the planned Commission Recommendation on next generation access is to provide legal certainty for all players by providing national regulators across Europe with clear guidance on the regulatory approach to be taken. I call on all stakeholders to contribute actively to the new public consultation in order to help us achieve the right balance between effective competition in the broadband market and giving the right incentives for sustainable investment in Europe's high speed networks."http://www.europa.eu

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