Network Related Items

THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CODE

The Commission has published its proposals to recast the current EU Telecoms Regulatory Framework into an Electronic Communications Code (ECC) in September 2016. The text was adopted alongside non-binding targets for a Gigabit Society, a 5G Action Plan and a draft regulation on the deployment of local WiFI networks (WIFI4EU).

With its proposed Code, the European Commission has four stated objectives: the access and take up of very high capacity connectivity, the promotion of competition, the promotion of the internal market by investment in networks and the interests of the citizen.

In line with the current framework, the draft Code remains based on the SMP (Significant Market Power) concept as a pre-condition for imposing access obligations in favour of third-parties following a market analysis. However, the Commission is suggesting that NRAs, under certain conditions, should impose access obligations to certain network assets owned by any operator – irrespective of the operators’ size and market power-  where replicating these elements would be economically inefficient or physically impracticable.

On universal service, the Commission is suggesting to focus on the affordability of the internet access and voice communications services rather than on the deployment of networks. It is also suggesting that costs stemming from the universal service obligation should be borne by national budgets and not by the telecoms sector.

Cable Europe has welcomed the Commission’s draft ECC as we consider that the European cable industry is a key partner in delivering the Commission’s ambitions. In our position paper we set out our detailed views on the draft ECC, in particular, the importance of safeguarding the SMP concept, of a technological neutral definition of ‘very high capacity networks’ as well as of proportionate symmetric access obligations. We also endorse the Commission’s approach to universal service.

Cable Europe remains vigilant on this file as negotiations move forward both in Council and the European Parliament.


THE TELECOM SINGLE MARKET (Net Neutrality) REGULATION

The Telecoms Single Market Regulation (Regulation 2015/2120) enshrines the principle of net neutrality into EU law. It outlaws blocking, throttling and discrimination of internet traffic by ISPs except for complying with legal obligations, for preserving the integrity and the security of the networks and for managing congestion in exceptional and temporary situations.
At the same time, the EU rules allow internet access providers and providers of content and applications to offer specialised services under specific quality requirements, as long as there is sufficient network capacity and the availability or general quality of internet access services for end-users is not negatively impacted.
As required by the Telecoms Single Market Regulation, BEREC produced in August 2016 a set of guidelines on the implementation of the net neutrality provisions which are intended to ensure a consistent application of the EU rules across all the Member States. Cable Europe has participated in the process that has led to the adoption of the guidelines, in particular by responding to BEREC’s public consultation.
Cable Europe is following closely the developments at national level involving the application of the EU net neutrality rules. It also remains closely involved in BEREC’s activities, in particular on the harmonisation of internet services QoS measurement methods.