Despite backing a 24% increase in network wholesale access prices that was endorsed by Italian telecom regulator AGCOM, the European Commission (EC) has called on AGCOM to review the rates that it allows dominant national operator Telecom Italia (TI) to charge rivals for wholesale access on grounds that the pricing model used by AGCOM has not been applied consistently. Citing the cost of next-generation network upgrades, TI proposed a 24% hike in wholesale broadband rates, covering the carrier’s “last mile” network facilities, which was subsequently approved by AGCOM. The increased rates are slated to go into effect over the next two years. Notwithstanding TI’s upgrade plan and the fact that demand for Internet service throughout the European Union (EU) has been rising as much as 60% annually, sources indicate that TI’s projected investment in broadband infrastructure over the next two years is 20% lower than in previous periods. While taking issue with the inconsistent application of AGCOM’s pricing model, the EC declared in a statement that “the prices proposed by AGCOM do not sufficiently reflect the maintenance and commercial costs of an efficient operator managing a newly-built copper network.” Emphasizing that “it is crucial that dominant telecom operators in all EU member states charge competitors a fair price for access,” EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes called on AGCOM to “review its calculation of [TI’s] access prices, applying in a consistent way its model to establish maintenance and commercial costs.” Although the EC’s pronouncement lacks legal force, AGCOM is required under EU rules to “take utmost account” of the EC’s comments.