FTTH Unhappy with Regs

Current EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Networks and Services is a barrier to investment in new generation broadband, says FTTH Council

August 18, 2005

2 Min Read

BRUSSELS -- The Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council Europe calls on European regulators to re-consider the European Regulatory Framework after it emerged in a Brussels meeting last month that the current rules do not allow national regulators to remove uncertainties surrounding investments in ‘deep’ fibre deployment.

In June, European Information Society commissioner Viviane Reding unveiled a strategy to create a single European information economy (i2010), underpinned by mass availability of affordable, faster broadband services. While the FTTH Council and national regulators reached broad agreement on the obstacles preventing the achievement of i2010, the regulators deemed the development of new legislative frameworks to overcome them a low priority.

In a public debate hosted by the FTTH Council last month, senior regulators from the Commission, the UK, France and the Netherlands explained that they see no scope for intervention under the current regulatory regime.

It is commonly assumed that optical fibre will migrate deeper into broadband access networks, supporting the rollout of higher speed and symmetrical broadband services. All DSL technologies are hampered by a trade-off between copper line-length and speed. Shortening line lengths, by placing fibre closer to homes[1], is advantageous for any broadband deployment capable of supporting ‘high definition video’ as the Commission’s i-2010 strategy requires.

“If we look at the US and Asia, where investments in deep fibre deployments for new generation broadband services have passed €100 billion, what we see is supportive public policy that has recognised the fundamental importance of fibre and acted to remove ambiguity and uncertainty from the regulatory process,” said Meni Styliadou, chair of the Council’s regulatory affairs committee. “In Europe, by stark contrast, the great majority of investments in fibre in access are being supported by regional authorities or utilities who are themselves supported by the public sector. Established operators do not seem to be interested. And one can see why… Would you invest billions in a long-term, fibre optic infrastructure investment which can provide services that cannot be provided as efficiently and effectively over any other platform, when, as the Framework stands, your new assets could be unbundled to competitors?”

Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council

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