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Next Generation Access Networks (NGA)

The Digital Agenda launched by the European Commission in May 2010 should allow every European to access fast broadband by 2013 and very fast broadband by 2020. The regulation of access to Next Generation Access Networks (NGA) constitutes a crucial step towards achieving this goal. This Recommendation therefore defines a common regulatory approach as regards access to the new very fast broadband networks using optical fibre, to offer a balance between encouraging investment and maintaining competition.

ACT

Commission Recommendation 2010/572/EU of 20 September 2010 on regulated access to Next Generation Access Networks (NGA) Text with EEA relevance.

SUMMARY

This Recommendation aims at promoting the transition to Next Generation Access Networks (NGA) *. It involves establishing a common approach for the regulation of access to NGA on the basis of a prior market analysis procedure pursuant to Directives 2002/19/EC and 2002/21/EC on electronic communication networks. The Recommendation forms part of the package of measures presented by the European Commission in September 2010 which also includes a Communication on broadband and a Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European radio spectrum policy programme.

Consistent approach

During the transition towards Next Generation Access Networks, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) must ensure that operators designated with Significant Market Power (SMP) provide all information necessary for designing regulatory remedies. In this context, NRAs may use the powers laid down in Article 5 of Directive 2002/21/EC.

Where NRAs carry out market analysis, they must define and apply their regulatory approach taking into account the Commission’s Recommendation as far as possible.

Geographical variation

There may be divergence in conditions of competition according to geographic areas. Where divergences in the conditions of competition are stable and substantial, NRAs may therefore define sub-national geographic markets in accordance with Recommendation 2007/879/EC. Where divergences in conditions of competition cannot be identified adequately, NRAs should carry out monitoring to determine whether deployment of NGA networks might nevertheless justify the implementation of differentiated remedies.

Access to wholesale physical network infrastructure (Market 4)

Where the market includes operators in a dominant position (SMP), NRAs should put in place remedies which must take into account:

  • access to civil engineering infrastructure of the SMP operator which should be mandated at cost-oriented prices;
  • access to the terminating segment in the case of FTTH (Fibre to the Home) *deployment which must include access to the wiring inside buildings and, if applicable, horizontal wiring up to the first distribution point;
  • unbundled access to the local fibre loop in the case of FTTH deployment which should be accompanied by appropriate measures for co-location and backhaul. In addition, this access should take place at the most appropriate point in the network, which is normally the Metropolitan Point of Presence (MPoP) *;
  • obligatory unbundled access to the copper sub-loop in the case of FTTN (Fibre to the Neighbourhood) deployment which should be supplemented by backhaul measures and ancillary remedies.

Wholesale broadband access (Market 5)

Where SMP is found on Market 5, wholesale broadband access remedies should be maintained or amended for existing services and their chain substitutes.

On this market, NRAs are encouraged to mandate the provision of different wholesale products that reflect the technical capabilities inherent in the NGA infrastructure in order to foster competition between operators.

Migration

The obligations concerning SMP should be maintained, except where migration agreements are concluded between the SMP operator and the operators enjoying access to the SMP operator’s network. If agreement is not reached, the SMP operator must warn the other operators at least five years before any de-commissioning of points of interconnection takes place.

Concerning the migration from copper to fibre-based networks, NRAs must put in place a transparent framework. They must ensure that undertakings enjoying access to the SMP operator’s network receive all necessary information in order to adjust their networks and network plans.

Key terms of the Act
  • Next Generation Access Networks: wired access networks which consist wholly or in part of optical elements and which are capable of delivering broadband access services with enhanced characteristics (such as higher throughput) as compared to those provided over already existing copper networks.
  • Fibre-to-the-home or FTTH: an access network consisting of optical fibre lines in both the feeder and the drop segments of the access network, i.e. connecting a customer’s premises (the home or in multi-dwelling units the apartment) to the MPoP by means of optical fibre.
  • Metropolitan Point of Presence (MPoP): the point of inter-connection between the access and core networks of an NGA operator.
Last updated: 20.10.2010
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