Sunday, January 11, 2009

European Commission Approves Partial Broadband Deregulation in Portugal

The European Commission approved the Portuguese telecoms regulator's proposal to deregulate some parts of the wholesale broadband market, covering around 61% of all Portuguese broadband lines.

The regulator ANACOM's (Autoridade Nacional de ComunicaƧƵes) proposal targets regions where structural competition problems persist. The Commission also called for effective regulation in regions where competition problems persist.
Specifically, the deregulation targets wholesale broadband access markets -- where operators allow other operators to offer competing services over their network -- in some regions. Since these networks are hugely expensive to replicate, alternative operators that want to offer retail broadband services to consumers usually need access to wholesale broadband ('bitstream access'), together with access to the local loop (the wires or radio links carrying fixed phone lines). EU telecoms rules require national regulators to ensure incumbents provide access to their networks, so that consumers can choose between broadband providers and benefit from a competitive market that brings better services and prices. The ANACOM proposal concerns areas where there are at least three operators and a high number of households with access to the cable network, mainly densely populated urban areas like Lisbon or Porto. Regulation making sure that new entrants can compete will be maintained in all other areas.

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