What is open access fiber

Telecom competitors: "Open access before regulation" is to apply to fiber optics

The telecom competitors want to tackle the urgently needed fiber optic expansion jointly - and wherever possible, together with the ex-monopoly. The idea of ​​networks that are open to all service providers is primarily intended to contribute to the utilization of the infrastructure and faster amortization of investments. This is also not possible without rules - and the transition from copper connection lines to fiber optics needs to be accompanied by regulatory measures. Breko outlined what this could look like in the future in a strategy paper that the network operator association presented on Thursday at its annual meeting in Berlin.

New rules of the game

"We need fiber optics across the board by 2025," says Breko boss Stephan Albers. This is an ambitious goal, and the network operators know that too. "But it is important to formulate the goal now." And to lay down the rules of the game for it: With the departure from copper cables - previously the bottleneck and usually under the control of Telekom - the regulation must also adapt to the new market.

"The fiber optic market has a different structure," says Breko regulatory expert Benedikt Kind. The market is characterized by smaller, regional providers. A future regulatory regime must take this into account. "Everything that we have in copper today, we would not see in fiber optics," says Kind. The approach of advance regulation, which the Federal Network Agency has so far followed with the preliminary products for local loop access, should not simply be carried over into the fiber optic age.

Open access without regulation

Breko's proposal: Anyone who builds an open access network, i.e. opens up their infrastructure to third parties, is out of regulation. The operator thus has a choice: if he opens his network to others, he negotiates the conditions for it with the contractual partner himself. The Breko expressly includes Telekom in this - the first cooperations, including with the Bonn-based company, are already in place.

In this model, the Federal Network Agency has the role of arbitrator, who moderates and can also decide in the event of a dispute. The regulatory authority would still have to specify access models for closed networks. From the point of view of the association, however, there must be no complete deregulation. The Breko speaks of a "protective regulation" that only intervenes where it is necessary.

"Fair Transition"

Telecom competitors want a "fair transition" for the step from the copper to the glass age. This means, among other things, that access to Telekom's copper network should be retained for as long as it is needed. Prices shouldn't go up if demand drops because of the move to fiber. So far, the Federal Network Agency has also calculated the access charges on the basis of assumed costs for the construction of the new infrastructure used. With fewer competitors who need local loop access, this surcharge would cause prices to rise.

"The motto for the future fiber optic world is: Open Access before regulation", Albers summarizes the Breko proposal. "Regulation then only sets the indispensable guard rails" - and intervenes if negotiations fail. "And only FTTH / B, please promote "- and not, as recently, the expansion of vectoring or successor technologies such as super vectoring and G.fast. If the failed explorations are a yardstick for a Jamaica coalition, that remains a hot topic: The three partners had each other in theirs Paper cannot lead to a clear commitment to FTTH funding. (Vbr)

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