Spain Regulator Publishes New Fiber Market Proposal

Spain’s communications and competition regulator the CNMC has launched a public consultation on its proposal to update the country’s wholesale fixed broadband rules (EC wholesale access Markets 3a, 3b, and 4) over four years after they were introduced. Above all, the watchdog is seeking feedback on its proposal to significantly increase the number of cities deemed “competitive” from 66 to 592. If the revised regulation is approved, former incumbent Telefonica would no longer be required to provide wholesale access to its fiber-optic network in areas representing 67% of the Spanish population, up from 35% in 2016.

In a statement, the CNMC stated the surge in the number of NGN (fiber and cable) lines from 28 million at the start of 2016 to an expected 70 million-plus this year means that there are now 592 areas with at least 3 different operators with NGN deployments. In addition, since February 2016 Telefonica’s share of the residential fiber market has fallen to below 40% and there are now at least three NGA networks with a minimum coverage of 20%, the regulator stated. Telefonica’s fiber footprint in Spain reached 24.4 million premises (the biggest FTTH network in Europe) at the end of September.

Under the revised rules, Telefonica would have to continue to provide access to its wholesale fiber network in a total of 7,539 non-competitive areas (33% of the population) but would not be required to give rivals access to fiber in the areas now deemed competitive. It will, however, need to continue providing access to its civil infrastructure (conduits and poles) in all areas as well as indirect access to its copper-based network.

Interested parties have been given 1 month to submit their comments on the public consultation before the CNMC approves a draft measure that will be sent to the European Commission as well as to Spain’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.

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