Digital Agenda: Commission asks Finnish telecoms regulator to improve access conditions to fibre network

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The European Commission has called on the Finnish telecoms regulator (FICORA) to amend or withdraw its proposal on regulated access to dominant operators’ broadband networks. If implemented, FICORA’s plans would damage competition and hamper investment in competitive broadband services. This could limit current and future offers available to consumers and businesses. This is the third time that the Commission has issued a formal recommendation under Article 7a of the Telecoms Directive.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “Regulators have to ensure stable and predictable prices for broadband, but also introduce effective safeguards against discrimination, so that dominant operators do not get an unfair advantage. FICORA’s proposal is lacking both. I want FICORA to make a proposal which creates a transparent and predictable regulatory environment for Finnish broadband and which encourages investment and competition”

FICORA’s proposal concerns wholesale broadband services, through which alternative operators can offer internet services to their own customers. FICORA wants to regulate two types of such access: “wholesale broadband access” which is granted at a higher network level and “network infrastructure access” (also known as “unbundling”) which allows the alternative operator to use a greater part of its own network.

The Commission is concerned that FICORA’s proposal, does not use important regulatory tools, such as effective non-discrimination and price obligations. The Commission considers that in the short term, workable cost-based regulation for copper-based access products seems inevitable in order to ensure proper functioning of broadband markets in Finland where dominant operators are in a position to charge excessive prices. Also the Commission recommends FICORA impose appropriate specific regulatory obligations for wholesale broadband access services below 8 Mb per second. Here to read more.

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