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EU ‘will provide for wholesale and shared spectrum’ in new comms directive

Kamila Kloc EC.jpg

The European Commission’s new electronic communications directive will have specific provisions for wholesale carriers, designed to encourage investment in high-capacity fibre networks.

The directive, which is likely to come into force in two years, will also include moves to harmonise 5G spectrum – including making allowance for shared spectrum – and will encourage co-investment in fibre.

The European Commission’s Kamila Kloc told Capacity Media’s Metro Connect Europe conference in Amsterdam yesterday that “the new regulation will facilitate investment – it is very much fibre-oriented”.

The Commission is recognising in the new directive that there will be wholesale-only carriers. “We think this type of model will be more popular.” The directive will be “pro-investment and pro-competition”, said Kloc, who is deputy head of cabinet for vice-president Andrus Ansip, who runs the EU’s digital single market programme.

The special provisions for wholesale carriers will apply to wholesale-only bodies, “not if they also offer retail”, she warned.

On co-investment, she said the Commission wants to encourage “alternative operators and incumbents to roll out networks together”. Co-investment “is more and more understood across Europe”, she added.

She said the Commission wanted “harmonisation of the bands” in the spectrum provisions for 5G, and wanted spectrum licences to run for 20 years. National regulators will have to implement the decisions.

The text of the new directive “is now being finalised”, said Kloc, who said in response to a question from Capacity after the panel session that the Commission was taking shared spectrum across Europe into account in the requirements.

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