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Telefonica threatens to stop FTTH

Telefonica is threatening to halt investments in fibre optic after the antitrust watchdog CNMC ruled that it must open up its FTTH network in some areas.

The CNMC has required “the operator with significant market power” to open up its fibre network to rival players in municipalities where there are fewer than three players rolling out next-generation infrastructure (around three-quarters of the country).

The incumbent must also provide wholesale bitstream access on copper and fibre for the business market, and provide wholesale access on copper and fibre in areas of low competition without the 30 Mbps speed cap it currently applies, the regulator said.

Telefonica has reacted by threatening to hold back on investment in the technology. The telco says it will now review its plans for rolling out FTTH, given that it will be forced to rent out the network to rivals at regulated prices. Now its plans to expand its fibre-optic network from around 14 million households by the end of 2015 to around 20 million over the next few years are at risk.

The CNMC has ascertained that 34 municipalities, covering 26 per cent of the population, are competitive in high-speed broadband, based on its criteria of at least three operators deploying next-generation networks – using FTTH or DOCSIS 3.0 – with coverage reaching a minimum of 20 per cent.

The CNMC’s proposal will be reviewed by the industry and economic ministries, as well as the European Commission, before a final decision is taken on the measures to be implemented.

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