In a recent interview, newly appointed Commissioner Maurizio Decina (Italian NRA) has specified that an eventual agreement between Telecom Italia (former incumbent) and other fixed network national operators on the setting up of a NewCo focused solely on the offering of services on the fixed access segment would be certainly thoroughly scrutinized by the Italian Authority, yet viewed also as a possibility of incentivising investment mechanisms to foster broadband access and digital coverage in the population.
Decina also hinted to the fact that EU regulation on access at the fixed location (former markets 1, 4, and 5 of recommendation no. 2007/879/CE), oriented to the opening of networks and related offering of services aligned to orientation to costs, does not appear any more aligned with the current needs to ensure investments in new technologies. Translated, the Italian NRA appears to be willing to hear novelties from the market which may enhance competition and investments in the particular market segment, also in view of matching eventually the 31 December 2013 deadline minimum coverage objectives set by the EU Digital Agenda.
Agcom Resolution no 314/09/CONS defined Telecom Italia as an operator having significant market power, both in the retail markets for access to the public telephone network at a fixed location for residential and non-residential customers, as well as in the markets for wholesale network infrastructure at a fixed location and wholesale broadband access. In view of such SMP (following Resolution no. 731/09/CONS), Telecom Italy must comply with regulatory obligations related: to: i) physical wholesale access services (unbundling obligations); ii) wholesale bitstream access services (including cables and dark fibre obligations); iii) non-discrimination and wholesale marketing service fee access service (Wholesale Line Rental – WLR); and iv) retail residential and non-residential access services along with a general obligation on cost accounting.
Agcom differentiates Telecom Italia obligations to provide the unbundled access to the copper network vis a vis the fiber network, yet in order to allow OLOs to compete in the provision of access services on next-generation networks, imposed – in line with the provisions of the Group of Undertakings no 9 – the obligation to provide access to infrastructure siting and to dark fibre.
Agcom further launched a public consultation (Resolution no. 390/12/CONS of September 4, 2012) for the “identification and analysis of the markets of the access services at the fixed location”, still pending at the moment.