European operators call for clarity on NGN regulation

Operators on Wednesday pushed for quicker adoption of next-generation network (NGN) regulations in order to meet the growing demand for more bandwidth.

A panel that included Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, BT and Belgacom called for greater clarity of the rules that will govern the rollout of new infrastructure.

"[Regulators] need to go early and they need to go fast – there's a long deployment cycle for some of what we're talking about," said Scott Alcott, executive vice president of service delivery platforms at Belgacom.

"Can you imagine if I called up an investor and said, 'hey, how do you feel about investing in our fibre-to-the-home project, oh by the way, we don't know what the rules are'," he said.

"The more certainty we have in the role of the regulator, the better," said Cayetano Carbajo Martín, Telefonica's director of technology and planning.

"It's tough to discuss with shareholders about investing in something that we don't know how will be regulated," he said.

The comments made during Broadband World Forum Europe in Paris come as operators face the challenge of adding extra bandwidth to their broadband services to cope with rising traffic, and also for competitive reasons.

"We are increasing speed in broadband access. Sometimes we don't know why because services are not using all the bandwidth, but we increase the speed because of competitive pressure," said Martín.

"The industry has no choice but to face up to the bandwidth challenge," said Vivek Badrinath, executive vice president of carriers, platforms and infrastructure at Orange.

"Everyone better have their cost-saving plans ready on January 1st because by December 31st [2010] we will be carrying more bits and paying more to carry them all and getting lower revenue for it," he said.

Vodafone CTO Steve Pusey said clarifying regulations now and getting them right will ultimately "benefit the consumer."

Meanwhile BT's George Nazi, president, 21CN and global networks and computing infrastructure, went further, calling for NGN regulations to span borders.

"Consistency is important, if you're setting regulations it's important to achieve consistency across several regions," he said.

This article originally appeared on Total Telecom