The future of connectivity
Implementing the new Code, delivering the Gigabit society
16-17 October 2018, Le Châtelain Hotel, Rue du Châtelain 17, 1000 Brussels
WIK’s conference on 16-17 October explored the implications of the EU electronic communications Code and strategies for deploying fibre to underserved rural areas.
A key conclusion was that the Code will continue to allow considerable flexibility for regulatory authorities to choose their regulatory model, leading one participant to ask: "What is the European model?" However, the Code has highlighted opportunities for dominant operators to roll back regulation if they develop innovative business models for co-investment or pursue a wholesale-only-strategy.
At the same time, the Code allows for a significant extension or even replacement of asymmetric "SMP" regulation with symmetric regulation. BEREC’s role in providing guidance on how the Code should be applied will be crucial. The new role of regulators as arbiters in commercial deals, and challenges they are likely to face in that role was also raised in the conference. Alongside fibre, wireless technologies will also play a vital role in the future of connectivity. In implementing the Code and assigning spectrum, policy-makers will need to bridge the gap between spectrum regulation and the desire for competition and the political ambitions gaining a leading position in 5G, the new mobile standard.
In a wide-ranging speech addressing the question: "Have we reached the end-game of telecommunications policy", Prof. Vogelsang raised the prospect for an end to regulation for ‘gatekeeper’ issues such as termination, but noted that the EU’s approach would do little to achieve it. He also challenged EU policy-makers to be more courageous on deregulation, co-investment and spectrum liberalisation. As the new Code ushers in a further period of regulatory experimentation, WIK will be following up developments and innovative strategies in future events.
(Full report in our WIK Newsletter December 2018)