FTTH Council Europe believes Digital Single Market proposal should do more to promote fibre to the home investments
Date: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 19:42
The FTTH Council Europe believes that the European Commission missed an opportunity to have a better focussed fibre policy in its Digital Single Market proposal by continuing to ignore the key issues
There is too little FTTH investment and the proposal fails to set out a vision of how the industry can accelerate investments for the benefit of the broader economy.
"The Commission has identified the slow deployment of LTE and has tried to identify areas to foster and speed up next generation wireless; the FTTH Council would have expected that fibre should have got a similar policy focus. A lack of LTE deployment may be also related to a lack of supporting fibre investments but the Commission refuses to prioritise fibre to the home investments on the grounds of technological neutrality. The result is that regulatory policies effectively promote copper upgrades that can’t support the capacity requirements of users, fixed or mobile, into the future. LTE needs fibre very deep in the network to provide backhaul; in urban areas that means fibre to the home or at least fibre to the building. As noted by a recent OECD report (1) wireless development needs a corresponding wireline development so the overall vision must be more coherent." said Hartwig Tauber, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe. "We need a greater emphasis on future-proof fibre networks and we need to facilitate new models of financing. I believe the failure to have a proper public consultation may have led to some big policy misses", he added.
The FTTH Council Europe has estimated that investments in the region of €200 billion would be needed to deliver FTTH across the whole of the European Union and simultaneously meet the Digital Agenda targets, including the requirement that half of households should have ultrafast broadband subscriptions (over 100 Mbps). The Council has also published a position paper noting that new investments from outside the telecom sector will need to be encouraged and facilitated by a major regulatory reform if Europe is to lead in network deployment and high-speed service delivery. This is an area which appears to be wholly absent from the Commission’s latest policy proposals.
Some aspects of the proposals such as those around transparency are to be welcomed and the FTTH Council Europe has consistently sought better information for consumers regarding service parameters. "If consumers think they are getting ‘fibre-speed’ but they are not, then they won’t realise what they’re missing; this aspect of the proposal will help consumers make more informed choices", said Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe.