In the third quarter of the year, the number of broadband customers in Portugal increased 51.4 percent compared to the same period last year. In the three months in question, 84,000 new customers joined the service, Pedro Duarte Neves, president of Anacom, announced today at the APDC congress. New customers’ adherence increased to 1,132 million service customers and increased the service’s penetration rate in Portugal to 10.8 percent.
Confirming the trend manifested since the beginning of the year, ADSL brings together a greater number of customers compared to cable, which for some years led the way in customers’ broadband access preferences. According to figures put forward by the official, ADSL had 641 thousand users at the end of September, while cable totaled 488 thousand users. In terms of growth in the number of customers, ADSL added 68 thousand new customers and cable 16 thousand. Regarding broadband, the official also said that today more than 50 percent of accesses are already included in the 2Mbps category.
Pedro Duarte Neves underlined that the growing adhesion to ADSL services is closely linked to the increase in the number of unbundled local loops. According to the official, there are waiting lists to unbundle 4,250 loops and 43,000 accesses had been unbundled by September, about seven times more than in the same period last year.
In an analysis of the measures implemented throughout the year, the president of the regulator recalled that 15 of the 18 markets considered to be revealing have already been analyzed, within the scope of the new legislation for electronic communications. The official pointed out that, for the first time this year, the reference offers for wholesale markets for 2006 will be available before next year. The aim is to give companies more time to desire their third-party network-based offers.
In retrospect of the activity in 2005, the official also underlined that the measures imposed by Anacom allowed a reduction of 60 percent in the installation prices of the local loop, 20 percent in the unbundling and 10 percent in the interconnection. In calls, there was a reduction of 20 percent for national communications, 30 percent for fixed / mobile calls and six percent for local calls.
Pedro Duarte Neves added that the measures implemented were intended to foster competition and increase benefits for the consumer by «reducing some prices that were out of line with European average standards», he said. In May next year, the date of the first conference organized by the regulator, the responsible person undertakes to make an assessment of these measures to see if they had the desired effect, he said in his presentation. At that time, new corrective measures could be introduced. The president of the regulator underlined that it is a priority of the institution to promote conditions for investment in infrastructure, an area that will have more expression in the future measures of the regulator, now that in terms of consumer offer a set of measures have been implemented that guarantee lower prices for telecommunications services.
In the measures yet to be completed Pedro Duarte Neves pointed out the public consultation for the Subscriber Line Resale Offer (SLRO), still in 2005. For the first quarter of 2006, the introduction of the flat interconnection tariff and the Reference Offer of Conduit Access (ORAC).
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