New proposals from the European Commission to spur investment in next-generation networks, such as fibre cables, have triggered a wave of criticism from industry.
The European Commission on Friday (12 June) put forward a second version of a draft text aimed at fostering investment in high-speed Internet infrastructure across Europe.
The Commission is proposing a new model to promote investment in new networks by encouraging joint ventures between incumbent and emerging operators to build the expensive infrastructure.
But critics said this new approach, while potentially raising investment by pooling resources, could also lead to the creation of de facto duopolies and ultimately hamper competition on the market.
Indeed, the Commission’s new proposals would free joint ventures from an obligation to guarantee competitors access to their networks at cost-related prices.
The issue of investment and access to third parties has been at the centre of the debate over next generation networks, with incumbents saying they will not put money forward if they are not guranteed a return on their investment.
But in an unusual move, it decided to issue a second draft, opening another public consultation until the end of July 2009. Under normal circumstances, a final legal text should have been brought forward after the first consultation.
As already reported, the definitive recommendation should thus not be adopted before December (EURACTIV 15/05/09).