Apritel wants shared investment model for fiber

Sapo opens laboratory at the University of Aveiro

Apritel argues that Portugal should adopt an investment sharing model for the creation of a unique infrastructure for fiber to the home, which divides investments and avoids duplication of networks. The association of alternative operators argues that the shared investment made it possible to develop a project that would guarantee coverage for 80 percent of the population in five years, in an investment of more than one billion euros.

The association’s proposal responds to the statements that PT has been making in order to pressure regulators regarding the need for a clear regulatory environment, which guarantees space for them to start investing in a next generation network that takes fiber to the customer’s home .

From Apritel’s perspective, a co-investment solution could be ensured either by vertical separation from PT, or by the creation of a company or group of companies that brings together all entities – private or public – interested in investing. This would not invalidate that operators without participation in the entity that owns the new infrastructure could have access to it and supported by them, offer their services.

There is still no clear regulatory guidance for so-called next generation networks, either at the national level or at the level of the European Commission. The EC has already shown itself against the German government’s intention to protect Deutsche Telekom’s investment in this type of infrastructure, preventing (similarly to what happens with copper) alternative operators from having immediate access to this infrastructure. In addition to this and other signs, there is still no official position on the model that should be followed and a communication on the subject is expected for the first half of 2008.

Luis Reis, president of Apritel, says that the association has no preference for any of the three solutions it presents. The priority is to ensure that fiber is not an opportunity to return to a monopoly situation. «It is counterproductive to return to the monopoly to have fiber in Portugal», he defends.

Any of the three solutions presented by Apritel, and which the association now intends to show the Government and regulators, would allow it to channel important investments, generate specialized employment, create competition and eliminate monopoly risks, avoid waste and have a predictable regulatory scenario, as is desired by all operators, defends the association.

Luis Reis defends that six months to a year will be the maximum time to make a decision in this matter and to ensure that Portugal goes in time to develop an infrastructure that allows him to be in the European leadership in this area. The official also stresses that Portugal can take advantage of a little throughout the country there is already a lot of fiber infrastructure, complementing this network with what is missing to reach the customer’s home and provide faster services, such as 100 Mb Internet.

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