EU electronic communications code and co-investment: Taking stock of the policy discussion

05-02-2018

The EU regulatory framework on electronic communications sets common rules on how electronic communications networks and services such as telephony and internet broadband connections are regulated in the European Union (EU). While the revision of this framework has started, a debate arises on how best to foster investment in the EU for deploying the very high capacity networks that are increasingly needed for 5G mobile services, as well as e-services such as e health, e administration, cloud computing and connected cars. One of the proposals of the European Commission is to amend the current regulatory framework in order to facilitate co-investment (i.e. when several investors agree to invest together) for building new high-capacity network infrastructure. However, the European Parliament and Council both want to amend the text significantly. This briefing discusses the policy context and the rationale behind the rules on co investment proposed in the draft EU electronic communications code, and assesses the main areas of convergence and divergence between the initial positions of the co legislators. Furthermore, some key issues for discussion are highlighted, including what types of co-investment agreements and assets should be exempted from regulation, the degree of competition safeguards needed and the extent of national regulators' oversight of the co-investment projects.

The EU regulatory framework on electronic communications sets common rules on how electronic communications networks and services such as telephony and internet broadband connections are regulated in the European Union (EU). While the revision of this framework has started, a debate arises on how best to foster investment in the EU for deploying the very high capacity networks that are increasingly needed for 5G mobile services, as well as e-services such as e health, e administration, cloud computing and connected cars. One of the proposals of the European Commission is to amend the current regulatory framework in order to facilitate co-investment (i.e. when several investors agree to invest together) for building new high-capacity network infrastructure. However, the European Parliament and Council both want to amend the text significantly. This briefing discusses the policy context and the rationale behind the rules on co investment proposed in the draft EU electronic communications code, and assesses the main areas of convergence and divergence between the initial positions of the co legislators. Furthermore, some key issues for discussion are highlighted, including what types of co-investment agreements and assets should be exempted from regulation, the degree of competition safeguards needed and the extent of national regulators' oversight of the co-investment projects.