Telecoms-Review: The European Electronic Communications Code brings the end of the copper age

Telecoms-Review: The European Electronic Communications Code brings the end of the copper age


VATM welcomes the clear commitment to a Gigabit Society and the clear planning horizon until 2025.

Brussels/Cologne, 14.09.2016 The Commission has now opened the discussion of a future-oriented European regulatory framework.

“The European Commission has set the course towards the future development of the tele-communications market in central points”, VATM’s managing director Jürgen Grützner states. With a clear step, the Commission turned away from old copper networks focusing now on the needs of a Gigabit Society. The VATM explicitly welcomes the stated willingness of the Commission to roll-out fiber to the businesses and homes while safeguarding competition. “This is a political focus which we would like to see in Germany”, Jürgen Grützner underlines.

“The main settings proposed in the European Communications Code are right and important”, Jürgen Grützner further explains. The intention of the framework to increase the willingness to invest accelerates the fiber roll-out. This is a right and logical step.” Nevertheless, special attention needs to be paid to the design of co-investment models. Here it must be ensured that also small enterprises will have a chance to benefit.

However, the VATM still sees some room for modifications. In fact, the tendency to deregu-late incumbents while at the same time extending regulation for non-SMP companies must be critically questioned. “In the context of a generally pro-competitive EU review, there must be no deregulation. In fact, decreasing regulation would eventually benefit the incumbent in the German telecoms market. Furthermore, additional regulation – especially for regional and smaller investors – must be avoided within the proposed symmetric regulation.” Moreover, infrastructure deployment must not lead to a deterioration of the diversity of services and market players which are essential for citizens and especially for the German economy. Es-pecially companies offering highly specialized services are an important element of the Ger-many economy and depend on a long-term access to high capacity networks.

“The Commission rightly pushes for a better and tighter monitoring to ensure that companies invest in a real FTTB/H roll-out”, Jürgen Grützner explains. In fact, the political discussion must not mix up FTTB/H and copper connections and must avoid counting fiber kilometers instead of fiber connections. Transparency and honesty are the cornerstones in Germany and Europe in order to meet economic and social challenges.

The Commission has also critically taken into account the imbalance of the markets caused by OTTs. “The telecoms sector expects the right strategic measures that will allow a fair level playing field”, Grützner says. “Cutting the red tape is just as important as a harmonized con-sumer and data protection.”

VATM will analyze the details of the proposal with great care and will monitor the ongoing negotiations. The upcoming months will show whether the promising visions of the Commis-sion will be viable or whether they will be diluted in the forthcoming discussion”, warns Grützner.

“Without doubt, the negotiations will be exciting. A good start has been made. Having confi-dence in the investment-friendly as well as competition and future oriented politics in Brussels, we will intensively monitor the ongoing developments within the Commission, the Council and the Parliament.”