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EU Commissioner & Ofcom To Clash Over NGN's

Posted: 29th Nov, 2007 By: MarkJ
Europe's information society and media commissioner, Viviane Reding, has once again set herself up for a clash with UK regulator Ofcom over funding for next generation broadband networks (NGN's):

In a speech in Budapest yesterday, the EU's information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding issued an early call for national regulators to act to boost investment in optic fibre. She said: "The treatment of Next Generation Networks is one of the most important regulatory issues facing us over the coming years.

"I want regulation to encourage investment in future networks. Regulatory holidays are not the solution, what we need is appropriate regulation that safeguards competition while creating new incentives for investment.
"

The commissioner's comments are in contrast to the stance taken by Ofcom boss and die-hard market forces advocate Ed Richards yesterday. Following the government's hush-hush summit on high speed broadband investment on Monday, he said [our emphasis]: "Ofcom's role is to deliver a robust regulatory framework allowing industry to deploy when there is a clear business case for doing so and in a manner which brings benefits to consumers."

The two statements may sound very similar but they're actually quite different, with Reding pushing for incentives and Ofcom doing nothing. Reding's recent push for a general European regulator haven't exactly gone down well inside Ofcom either, with her latest comments rubbing salt into the same wounds.

It's unrealistic to expect BT to fund a new network by themselves only for it to be immediately opened up to rivals, so they won’t do that. Instead a large onus rests upon Ofcom’s shoulders and it will need to conclude some constructive way forwards sooner rather than later. More @ The Register.
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