ANACOM simplifies access to MEO ducts and poles by other operators

ANACOM approved a batch of measures that facilitate the access of other operators to MEO’s ducts and poles, simplifying and streamlining the procedures provided for in the wholesale offers of duct access (RDAO) and pole access (RPAO).

Among the changes in processes and procedures now decided that facilitate the use of MEO’s infrastructure by other operators, for the installation of their networks, the reduction of the installation time provided for in the RDAO and the simplification of the process (operator now notifies MEO that it will make an installation at least 3 working days in advance of the intervention date, while MEO is currently scheduling the installation between the 7th and the 15th day from receipt of the beneficiary's request). This is intended to speed up and expedite the installation of very high capacity networks by operators and therefore facilitates the provision of retail services to end users.

ANACOM's draft decision, now approved, already takes into account the pronunciations of interested parties and also deals with other relevant matters, such as the provision of information on poles through the Extranet and the reduction in the number and value of penalties that MEO intended to apply to others operators in case of non-compliance with the conditions laid down in the RDAO and RPAO. It should be recalled that MEO had introduced a set of penalties in these offers to promote greater accountability of operators using them, a principle that was accepted by ANACOM on the assumption that operators would be given more flexibility in accessing MEO infrastructures. However, after analysing all the penalties intended by MEO, ANACOM concluded that many were unreasonable and therefore proposed to eliminate some and reduce the value of others.

This draft decision will now be notified to the European Commission, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the national regulatory authorities of the other Member States of the European Union.

Following the pronouncements of the interested parties, there were significantly changed matters in relation to the initial draft decision, so ANACOM approved a new draft decision on changes to RDAO and RPAO (of changes not included in the referred draft decision) which is now submitted for public consultation

In this new draft decision, among other things, the revision of the Extranet access prices (ORAC and ORAP), the definition of an annual maximum limit for follow-ups to be invoiced by MEO and a maximum limit for the amount to be paid for penalties of non-compliance will be decided.

In this new draft decision, a significant change to the procedures for the installation of customer drop is also decided, i.e. the installation of the final section of the network to the customer's house. This simplification of the customer drop installation procedure is the result of additional steps taken by ANACOM, including meetings with operators, with subcontractors for the purpose of customer drop installation identified by RPAO beneficiaries as their main installers, and the analysis of the information requested by ANACOM from MEO and RPAO beneficiaries.

Therefore, ANACOM considers that the client drop installation should follow the following rules:

  • The installation of customer drop cable by the beneficiary (for which a valid RPAO or RDAO accreditation is required, as the case may be) does not imply any prior or subsequent notification to MEO and no obligation of this nature may be expected.
  • The figure of the customer drop cable installation service, and its price, should be eliminated from the offers and instead the procedure defined in the previous paragraph should be included.
  • MEO must remove from offers the obligation to send beneficiaries' customer drop cable registration. This change takes effect on the date of publication of the first versions of offers.
  • Penalties for improper access or occupation and failure to submit registration do not apply to beneficiaries' customer drop cables from the effective date of the offers.
  • The application of any monthly occupancy price for the fixation of a MEO pole customer drop cable and an installation price for a MEO pole customer drop cable must be removed from RPAO. This change takes effect on the date of publication of the first versions of offers.

These measures will lead to improved competition in the market, notably by allowing for faster and more flexible network installation and therefore by facilitating the provision of high capacity broadband services to end users. In particular, these are amendments to MEO’s RDAO and RPAO, which have been instrumental in fostering sustained competition in the electronic communications networks and services markets, and in particular in promoting investment in high-speed networks by other operators.

It is noted that the specific matter related to the installation of customer drop in RPAO was the subject of a dispute between MEO and Vodafone, which was decided by ANACOM on the 2 August 2018. Following a complaint lodged by Vodafone on the 31 August 2018 against the decision to resolve the dispute, ANACOM, by deliberation of the 9 October 2018, approved the draft decision on the “Complaint lodged against ANACOM's decision of the 02.08.2018, concerning the request for action to resolve dispute management - non-compliance with procedures for installing customer drops within the scope of RPAO”.

In this context, ANACOM also approved the final decision regarding the said Vodafone complaint, and decided:

a) Dismiss the complaint regarding the request for annulment of ANACOM's decision of the 2 August 2018, as it is a fully valid decision.

b) To grant the claim regarding the request for revocation of ANACOM's decision of the 2 August 2018, stating that it ceases to be effective retroactively to that date, as no unavailable rights or interests are at stake.

c) To determine, pursuant to article 38 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, to suspend the administrative settlement of the dispute in question until a decision to amend RPAO has been taken.

1 Comments in writing and in Portuguese must be sent by 25.09.2019 to the address ANACOM calls for a broad response to the consultation by the market's various agents and participants.