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 Sunday, 15 May 2005

Roger Darlington's CommsWatch notes some of the issues facing Ofcom concering regulation of next generation access networks. Ofcom's Phase Two consultation document (PDF), which is  part of its strategic review of telcommunications devoted six pages (paras. 8.49 - 8.74) to the subject of regulating next generation access networks. From the Phase Two consultation document (8.60-8.61):

  • "We believe that the deployment of next generation access represents an opportunity for a new competitive structure to emerge which would avoid the regulatory battles of the last twenty years. Next generation access networks also have a slightly different regulatory imperative to today’s infrastructure. Because they are not yet in place to any significant degree, there is a strong imperative that regulation does not disincentivise their timely and efficient deployment. As we noted in Chapter 4, there is widespread acceptance among our stakeholders that widely-available broadband is critical to economic competitiveness, and many consider that this effect will become more pronounced with the advent of the more powerful broadband applications which can only be supplied over next generation broadband access networks. This suggests that there is a strong citizen interest in seeing these networks deployed as soon as possible. But this needs to be carefully balanced against our duty to safeguard the interests of consumers, where appropriate by promoting effective competition.
  • These are clearly conflicting factors..."