Feeds

Steelie Neelie calls for copper price cuts to drive fibre

Dutch berated for doing net neut rules without asking

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The EU's top digital eurocrat has called on large telcos to stop using copper pricing as a barrier to deploying fibre networks.

"Telecom operators are divided on the question of how copper access prices affect the incentives for fibre investment," said Neelie Kroes during a speech in Brussels today.

"Alternative operators consider that copper access prices are too high given that the assets are largely depreciated. And they argue that, as a result, incumbents prefer to make good, easy profits on legacy infrastructure rather than invest significant amounts in new fibre networks."

Kroes added that those operators think that lowering the copper price would allow "incumbents" to pump cash into fibre networks.

The likes of France Télécom and BT have argued that bringing those prices down could be bad news for broadband retail prices.

"[Incumbents] consider it would be unattractive to invest in a parallel fibre infrastructure directly competing with a cheap copper network, at a time when many consumers do not yet appreciate the major difference, in capacity and service quality, between the two technologies," said the unelected digital czar.

Kroes made those comments as she announced public consultation on the pricing of access to broadband networks.

She proposed that such pricing should be gradually lowered for what she described as "largely depreciated copper networks."

Under that plan, big telcos responsible for such infrastructure could slowly begin investing in fibre networks, while phasing out the copper networks.

"Clients could then be migrated to fibre, and benefit from better services and applications for which higher wholesale and retail prices could justifiably be charged. Such a mechanism should also reassure markets that investment in fibre is safe and profitable," she added.

Brussels plans to pump €9.2bn into "broadband investment and pan-European digital public services" between 2014 and 2020. Kroes said that €6.4bn of that funding pot would be used for broadband infrastructure "largely in the form of equity, debt or guarantees. The Commission and EIB would also provide credibility, and improve the projects' credit rating by absorbing part of the risk."

The commissioner added that wireless technology was "a major component in the policy mix". She wants to get every one of the 500 million people living and working in the 27-Member bloc to have digital access.

Meanwhile, Kroes has asked BEREC (the body of European regulators for electronic communications) to provide the commission with facts and figures on transparency, blocking, throttling and switching.

All of which neatly led to Kroes taking a swipe at the Dutch rushing in with their own "net neutrality" rules.

"It is very important that we wait for the facts and figures before acting. And if we do need to act, we must do so in a coordinated way across Europe," she said.

"I regret very much that The Netherlands seems to be moving unilaterally on this issue. We must act on the basis of facts, not passion; acting quickly and without reflection can be counterproductive.

"For example, requiring operators to provide only 'full internet' could kill innovative new offers. Even worse, it could mean higher prices for those consumers with more limited needs who were ready to accept a cheaper, limited package." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.