Telefonica has reiterated its threat to halt the accelerated rollout of its Spanish fibre optic operations after communications regulator CNMC finally proposed that the company provide wholesale access to its network in many parts of Spain. Under the CNMC’s long-delayed review of the fixed broadband market, first launched at the end of last year, Telefonica will be required to share access to its network in all of Spain apart from 34 towns and cities and removes the 30 Mbps limit for indirect access. The initial proposal would have required the former incumbent to open up its network in all of Spain apart from 9 cities with a view to ensuring competition and promoting investment in next generation access (NGA) networks. However, the regulator ended up identifying a total of 34 localities in which three or more companies were already offering superfast internet via fibre or cable connections. In these competitive areas, which together reach 26 percent of the population, the operators already provide an individual coverage of at least 20 percent, meaning Telefonica won’t need to open up its network.
Immediately following the publication of the CNMC’s draft review, Telefonica told business daily Expansion that it was “deeply concerned” about the new regulation, which may result in the end of a fibre-optic rollout “that has placed Spain at the top of the European tables in terms of number of homes passed”. The company added that its deployment plans would be placed under review until it had studied the regulator’s proposal in depth.
The operator had previously warned that the CNMC’s proposal would have the opposite of the intended effect and prompt operators to alter major investment plans. In that regard, it said it would only continue with its plans to expand its fibre-optic network from around 14 million households reached by the end of 2015 to around 20 million over the next few years if the authorities put in place “adequate” regulation.
The CNMC’s proposal will be reviewed by the industry and economic ministries, as well as the European Commission, before a decision is taken on the measures to be implemented.