EU says no regulatory holiday for fibre investors

There will be no regulatory breaks for telecoms operators rolling out next-generation access networks, the European Commission was quoted saying in a Total Telecom report.

This despite pleas from telcos to guarantee them a return on their investment, the Total Telecom report said.

The use of new technology in a network does not eliminate the requirements for dominant players to give competitors access to those networks, said Cecilio Madero Villarejo, director, competition directorate general at the European Commission, said.

'NGA deployment does not mean regulatory holidays,' Villarejo insisted. 'Dominant companies will have to provide access to their fibre,' he added, noting that dominant companies will not necessarily be incumbent operators.

But that is not what the big telcos are keen to hear.

'[KPN] is only thinking of a modest investment in fibre,' because the regulatory environment is not conducive, said Jos Huigen, director of European affairs at KPN.

The Dutch incumbent' fixed-line business is worth around €3 billion-€3.5 billion, whereas investment to provide fibre throughout the Netherlands would run to €6 billion-€7 billion Huigen said. 'Your share price will tank,' with numbers like that, he added.