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Next Generation Access Networks - Senior industry and EU officials discuss NGA regulatory approach at ETNO high level workshop

Date

01 Oct 2009

Sections

InfoSociety

BRUSSELS – What is the state of play in NGA deployment in Europe? Which are the different commercial and technology models used? How can the regulatory approach to NGA address the risks involved? These questions are at the centre of a high-level workshop organised today by ETNO on “Next generation access networks (NGA) and the digital economy”.

“Although the adoption of the NGA recommendation may be delayed due to the ongoing conciliation procedure on the EU Telecoms Package, NGA must remain a top priority as Europe
is still lagging behind US and Asia”, said Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.

With this workshop, ETNO aims to keep NGA on the policy agenda and provide additional industry input to the debate about the most appropriate regulatory conditions for promoting risky investment and ensuring vibrant infrastructure competition. Today’s workshop involves key
officials from the European Commission’s DG Information Society and DG Competition involved in the drafting of the NGA Recommendation, national regulators (CMT of Spain,
Ofcom of the U.K.), MEPs as well as senior industry representatives and academics.

“The delay on the NGA recommendation is a curse on investment. This delay, if needed, should be used to step back and reflect … The fundamental question before policy makers is how risk is shared among NGA investors and competitors. Cost orientation will never cover this high level risk”, highlighted Professor Luigi Prosperetti, Chair of Economic Policy at the Faculty of Law of Università degli Studi, Milan.

Recent data show that well established operators continue to refrain from large scale investment in NGA due to regulatory uncertainty. Where NGA investment is proceeding, it is mostly by municipalities and utilities.

ETNO welcomes the European Commission’s recent guidelines of state aid for broadband, which reiterated the leading role of the private sector in deploying NGA. In this context, it is essential that appropriate regulatory conditions are put in place.

ETNO insists that wherever possible investors and competitors should be encouraged to negotiate
commercial access agreements as such arrangements are more appropriate in a NGA environment to deliver competition and address risks. Regulatory access obligations should focus on real economic bottlenecks and allow operators pricing flexibility.

ETNO also calls on the European Commission in its forthcoming EU Broadband Strategy to urgently address the demand. “Policies can also boost investment by encouraging consumers and businesses to take up broadband services for instance through tax incentives or by making public
services widely available online”, concluded Bartholomew.

For more information, please contact:
Thierry Dieu, ETNO Communications Manager
Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42
Fax: (32-2) 219 64 12
E-mail: dieu@etno.be

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