Thursday, November 23, 2006

The next generation

Deutsche Telekom is probably hurriedly trying to buy some cancellation insurance for its regulatory holiday - the EU has reportedly been talking tough all day, and I understand that there is a reception in Berlin this evening where Ms. Reding is apparently going to be telling it like it is. Back here in the UK, mega-uber-hyper regulator OFCOM, apparently having "been to school" on the turmoil evident in the Dutch and German markets, has released a position paper on next generation access which looks to clarify a few key issues before they come to a head. Interesting passages so far:

"The level in the network where regulatory remedies may be applied to next
generation access networks may differ substantially from the current copper
local access network. Therefore, one key consideration for any next generation
access regulatory policy is the correct level in the network to mandate access
to promote downstream competition. This will, in part, depend on technology
choices made by industry. The levels may vary for different technology
deployments, but could include: access to ducts; unbundling options, including
sub-loop or fibre unbundling; or access to a wholesale bitstream product."


"It is not the role of the regulator to protect investments made by competitive communications providers against market risks. These risks may include the emergence of new technology developments, such as next generation
access that superseded operators’ current market propositions. However, it is
appropriate for Ofcom to consider the interests of existing competitive
operators in ensuring the continued availability of and terms for current
wholesale inputs to their products, during the lifetime of the assets in which
they have invested. We also need to ensure that a suitable migration path for
existing infrastructure investments is allowed for following the deployment of
new technologies."

UPDATE: T-Regs has some valuable additional insight on the situation in Germany.

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