This study compares the approaches to wholesale next generation broadband access (NGA) regulation taken by national regulatory authorities in five European countries – France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain – in the context of different regulatory objectives, market structures and technological choices.
France, Portugal and Spain focused from the early stage of NGA deployment on stimulating FTTH infrastructure-based competition. In contrast, Germany and the Netherlands initially placed greater focus on promoting service-based competition through regulated access to the incumbent NGA networks.
In France, the incumbent now faces strong competition from three major nationwide alternative operators investing in own FTTH networks. In Germany, alternative operators still mainly rely on the regulated access to the incumbent’s network. However there has been growing competition from cable networks now covering two thirds of households and from smaller regional FTTH networks.
In the Netherlands, the fixed broadband market shaped by the two competing nationwide infrastructures of the incumbent and its cable rival, has recently seen an increase in new entrants deploying FTTH in rural areas that often rely on a wholesale-only business model.
In Portugal, infrastructure-based competition among private operators complemented by public investments in rural areas constitute the two main drivers for the NGA roll-out. In Spain, infrastructure competition started from an early stage, with three nationwide vertically integrated operators competing with the incumbent, especially in urban areas.
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