Vodafone Portugal congratulates the European Commission’s initiative to issue a Recommendation requesting the national regulatory bodies to create suitable legal instruments to enable more operators to enter into the market of the Next Generation Networks (NGNs). The EC argues that it is urgent to create a framework to ensure an appropriate balance between the need to encourage investment and the need to safeguard competition.
The Commission is responding to the real danger of distortions occurring in the electronic communications market, leading to a climate of uncertainty for operators who want to invest in NGNs.
One of the most important aspects of the guidelines given to the national regulators concerns the immediate opening of the fibre optic networks owned by the operators with significant market power. Such a decision is justified to guarantee the continued presence in the market of operators who have invested heavily in ADSL technology based on unbundling the Local Loop.
The European Commission recognises that a competitive environment in the NGNs market can only be achieved through competition at the level of services, and not only by means of large-scale investment in infrastructures, which may not be profitable. Indeed, such investment would be simply a waste of resources in the current economic and financial climate.
In recommending swift application of the measures by the regulators, the EC translates the concerns that have been voiced by Vodafone regarding the need to avoid a possible irreversible monopoly or duopoly situation in the NGNs market, which would be extremely damaging for consumers and would undermine the investments made by the alternative operators based on the Supply of Local Loop Access, if this is not updated to include the NGNs.
Finally, Vodafone Portugal emphasises that the currently regulatory framework is not suitable for the NGNs market, namely as regards the definition of competitive zones, making it impossible to adopt correct solutions. The Portuguese regulator should also urgently apply the measures outlined by the EC in relation to access to the NGNs of the operators with significant market power and the implementation of other measures that are only theoretically in place in the Portuguese regime, namely concerning the need for information about the infrastructures ready for the implementation of NGNs, as well as more efficient access to pipes, posts and the vertical network.