BIPT greenlights wholesale fibre access regulations
Belgian Institute for Postal services and Telecommunications (BIPT) has approved the proposed fixed market regulations in a bid to create competition and offer more choice in broadband and broadcasting.
The news follows the greenlight given by European Commission (EC) which approved the plans back in May. At the time the EC gave its comments on the proposal of the Conference of Belgian telecom regulators (CRC) to impose regulations on Proximus and other regional cable operators.
In its comments the EC criticised the CRC’s definition of 'central access’ markets and that it will not block the CRC’s new proposal because it has demonstrated, through its joint dominance analysis, that there are competition problems.
With this approval, the BIPT said that the new rules will create more competition in the market and choice for internet and TV services.
Under the new rules the dominant market players which includes Telenet, Brutele and Nethys as well as Proximus will have to open up their networks to other smaller players. In addition, the wholesale access prices will be reduced in some cases by up to 20%, starting this August.
For Proximus in particular it must also provide wholesale access to its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network. Speaking on the decision Orange said that it expects this to be of particular benefit to the B2B market. While at the same time both Proximus and cable operators must also guarantee a certain level to wholesale customers.
The new rules will also take into account the impact of various geographical areas, taking a lighter touch approach in areas that have at least three operators offering at least 30Mbps in services as well as areas lacking in broadband infrastructure.
According to Telecompaper Belgian telecom minister Alexander de Croo praised the decision saying it would help bring down prices in the country. Croo recently advocated for the launch of a fourth mobile operator in the country to also bring prices down.
Orange Belgium also welcomed the news saying that the new regulation would provide "more sustainable financial conditions over time".