The EU may be considering slashing the regulations that Internet Service Providers have to abide by in order to increase the roll out of fibre optic networks across Europe.
At present, any company that installs fixed line fibre broadband infrastructure is legally obliged to grant access to other broadband companies at a ‘fair price’ in order to fuel competition in the market.
This also acts as a measure to control and prevent a few ISPs from dominating the market and creating monopolies.
However, if the companies that install the broadband are to be believed, the rules that force them to share their infrastructure and determine the ‘fair price’ fees they can charge to other ISPs on their network, make it hard to justify their initial investment.
And now, according to Reuters, EU officials are seriously considering relaxing the rules that insist Telecom operators open up their networks to competitors.
If the new proposals see the light of day, the EU will hand down new rules to national regulators that will oblige them to consider fibre broadband installers existing commercial contracts with other ISPs, when it comes to creating new fibre broadband infrastructure, and effectively determine the level of competition, and crucially regulation, that telecoms companies will have to endure.
The move by the EU comes as the EU parliament actively seeks to reform its 15-year-old telecoms laws for the 21st Century.
Encouraging investment in new fibre optic networks that can meet the ever rising demand for data services across Europe, is one of the key aspects being focussed on by European law makers.
And in a way, it does make sense.
The costs associated with both the installation and subsequent operational are relatively high, and firms such as Orange, Telecom Italia, and Deutsche Telekom, argue that returns on investment for installing broadband networks are difficult to justify.
One of the major planks of the new proposals is the hope that lighter rules will encourage telecom companies to increase their fibre rollout programs to more rural and isolated areas.
Once the new proposals are published, they will still have to go before the EU parliament for debate, and also be approved by governments at a national level before becoming official regulations, a process that could take several more years.