The Lisbon European Council, of 23-24/03/00, following prior Councils, enhanced the full potential of a digital economy based on knowledge, namely as regards growth, competitiveness and employment creation, underlining the importance, within this context, of an access to a communications infrastructure of reduced prices and high quality and to a wide range of services1.
The European Commission (EC), on the other hand, has recurrently highlighted the pursuit of similar objectives, through the promotion of an open and competitive European market of communication services, particularly in the sphere of the Internet and broadband access. The program of the XV Constitutional Government likewise establishes goals such as a general broadband Internet access as well as the general access and use of telecommunications networks by operators through the promotion of competition and alternative infrastructures and the opening of the local loop in fair conditions.
ANACOM has taken timely and successive measures with a view to promote competition at the level of the local access, namely: a) the granting of licenses in the scope of the fixed wireless access (FWA); b) the implementation of the indirect access, through the call-by-call selection and carrier pre-selection, and the successive enlargement of the traffic eligible for the purpose; c) the putting into operation of the unbundled access to the local loop; d) the alteration of the regime applicable to the Internet, the retail price of which is now established by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), with a reduction of the interconnection prices; e) the introduction of operator portability in the fixed network and in the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN); f) the effective safeguard of the principle of non-discrimination regarding the supply of services by PT Comunicações, S.A. (PTC) where this supply is carried out simultaneously with the enterprises belonging to the PT Group and competitor enterprises, namely as to the ADSL offer.
These measures, among others, have contributed for a competition level in Portugal, as the 8th Report from the Commission on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package2 already pointed out, that is increasingly comparable with that of the remaining Member States of the European Union (EU), in spite of the different timetable for the liberalization established for Portugal.
Most recently, in the context of specific offers, the suspension of the offer ''PT Network Line without Subscription'' was determined, until PTC presents the remaining operators with the possibility of submitting the same type of offers, through the Deliberation of ANACOM of 10/04/03 3. The fact that the new providers of the fixed telephone service (FTS), the entry in the market of which is rendered easy by the indirect access, are deprived of the possibility to present a similar offer, as to this service provision modality, was decisive to this determination.
The introduction of a wholesale offer of the subscriber line resale, already weighted by several telecommunication national regulatory authorities (NRA), shall enable operators and service providers that adhere to this type of offer, on the one hand, to develop their own retail offers, adding value to the final client through the creation of innovative services and, on the other hand, to compete with the offers of the operator who owns the network that aggregate, in optional plans, the access price and the telephone traffic price. Moreover, there is a general consensus at EU level that the introduction of the unbundled access to the local loop (ULL) and the development of the indirect access are not yet sufficient for an effective competition in the market of the fixed communications.
The processes of implementation of wholesale offers of the subscriber line resale, notwithstanding the positive aspects identified by most of the entities that have assessed this issue, have presented very long implementation periods. This situation is due to the technical and operational complexity inherent to the provision itself, requiring a very participated and transparent approach.
Do you consider the development of a wholesale offer of the subscriber line resale as an appropriate additional measure to promote, namely, innovation in retail offers as well as competition in the market of the fixed communications, with the resulting advantages for final consumers?
1 See Presidency Conclusions of the Lisbon (23-24/03/00) European Council.
2 See Hereinafter referred to as ''8th Implementation Report''.
3 See Offer ''PT Network Line without Subscription'' (draft decision) - determination of 10.4.2003https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=418345.