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BRUSSELS -- Groundbreaking research published today by WIK, reveals that high fixed costs will limit the availability of super fast broadband to many European homes and rural businesses. France has the best prospect of fibre rollout, with viability to 25% of households. The study also shows that the economics simply do not stack up for competitive operators to duplicate costly infrastructure on a wide scale and that access to fibre is a win-win scenario as it improves the business case for all providers, to the ultimate benefit of consumers.

The timing of the study is critical as the European Commission will shortly release its proposals for a Recommendation on the regulation of next generation networks access whilst the European Parliament will vote on Sept 23rd on the Commission’s proposals for the Review of the EU Telecoms Framework, signalling its views on the same issues. ECTA believes the outcome will be crucial in determining the performance and position of incumbents and competitive operators in fixed telecom across Europe.

The findings of the WIK research, commissioned by the pro-competition body ECTA, into the economics of next generation access investments, prove that incumbent operators, who own legacy duct and buildings, enjoy high cash flows, and currently control 80-90% of all fixed telecom access lines and around 50% of the broadband retail market, are best placed roll out next generation high speed fibre access lines to large parts of Europe. Many incumbent operators, who are demanding both high payments from competitors for access to their investments and the removal of access for competitors in cities, contest these findings.

Innocenzo Genna, Chairman of ECTA, said, “Competitive access to fibre networks at competitive prices is the only viable solution if European households and businesses are to get connected with super fast broadband services and continue to enjoy the choice and competitive prices they have today. Incumbent operators cannot have it both ways. If, as they claim, fibre roll-out is expensive and risky, they cannot at the same time honestly say that all operators are in a position to make a business case for rolling out parallel access lines.”

European Commission

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