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Network access and interconnection
What rules, requirements and procedures govern network-to-network access and interconnection?
The principal rules of telecoms network interconnections are set out in Articles 18 to 20 of the Federal Law 126-FZ (the Communications Law). Further, two decrees adopted by the government provide the specific technical requirements for:
- general network interconnections; and
- the interconnection of broadcasting networks, respectively.
Apart from these mandatory rules, all terms of interconnection and network-to-network access are defined and agreed on by the contracting operators. Operators of publicly available telecoms networks must provide interconnection services to other operators.
Operators considered to have a substantial position in publicly available networks (where a ‘substantial position’ is defined as holding more than 25% of the capacity in the relevant geographic numbering area, individually or as part of a group of affiliates) must offer equal and non-discriminating terms for all connecting operators on the basis of standard published contracts. Operators that hold a substantial position cannot refuse interconnection, except where such connection would contradict their licence terms or applicable regulation.
Are access/interconnection prices subject to regulation?
Network connection costs are government regulated for operators that hold a substantial position in publicly available networks. For such operators, the Federal Agency for Communications sets the minimum and maximum costs of interconnection services per connection point.
How are access/interconnection disputes resolved?
Disputes on interconnection-related issues are resolved through standard judicial procedures in arbitrazh (ie, commercial) courts.
Have any regulations or initiatives been introduced or proposed with respect to next-generation access?
The Digital Economy national programme adopted by Government Order 1632-p of July 28 2017 sets the provision of stable 5G mobile services in all major cities of Russia by 2024 as one of its major goals.
In the context of the recent move towards technological neutrality, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies has made some decisions in the past four years which allow the use of certain bandwidths previously reserved for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standards to promote the development of long-term evolution services without the need for operators to modify previously issued permits.
As of the end of November 2018 mass media reported three operators to have filed their applications for frequencies to deploy 5G networks. The applications will be reviewed by the State Commission for Radio Frequencies in December 2018 and the auction itself will be held sometime in mid-2019.
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