In accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of Decree-Law nr. 415/98, and without prejudice to the provisions of Paragraph 2 of the aforementioned Article, the following alterations should be integrated into the Reference Interconnection Offer for 2000 (RIO 2000), so as to provide compliance with the document 'Set of items' to be included in the RIO 2000' and with the Resolutions for increased compliance of the RIO 2000 offer with the 'Set of items to be included in the RIO 2000'.
This RIO should include an offer for interconnection services provided via ISDN access, in accordance with the provisions of Point IV of the document 'Set of items'
2. INTERCONNECTION PRINCIPLES
Having established the principle that all digital switches should be available for interconnection, the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal considers that the other licensed operators (OLO) should not incur costs due to limitations, albeit temporary, in the Portugal Telecom (PT) network, for whose planning they are not in fact responsible.
It is to be noted that the proposals made by PT, particularly regarding individual assessment (to be carried out by this company) of the possibility of delivering traffic at a local level, may not contribute to a reduction in the occurrence of situations involving litigation (the issue being the principle of non-discrimination and transparency).
In this context, and in accordance with the provisions of Point I.1 of the resolutions for greater compliance of the RIO 2000 offer with the 'Set of items to be included in the RIO 2000', it should be unequivocally stated that when the delivery of traffic at a local level is not possible, PT shall offer viable alternatives for the routing of traffic at the same price as that which would be offered if the exchange in question was available.
3. CIRCUITS FOR INTERCONNECTION
The formulation presented by Portugal Telecom with respect to technical options for interconnection can be further improved in relation to that presented by PT in the RIO 2000 project of 10 August.
During the survey carried out by the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal, it was observed that most of the parties considered that, with the large number of Geographic Points of Interconnection for interconnection at a local level, it would be necessary to offer co-installation of equipment to promote de facto liberalisation of the sector on 01/01/2000.
Therefore, in conjunction with the provisions of the document 'Set of items' and in the resolution formulated by the ICP, this Instituto considers that refusal of access may only be justifiable in the duly circumstantiated absence of technical conditions, to preserve network security or in the case of lack of capacity, as is common practice in the Member States of the European Union.
In this framework, the principle according to which the Point of Interconnection should be located in the actual building of the PT shall prevail, regardless of the entity that provides the circuit for interconnection. The PT should define the technical conditions and availability of necessary infrastructures, at a reasonable price. When this is not possible, this impediment should be duly justified and the Point of Interconnection may be located in the exterior of the PT building, its completion being the responsibility of the operator which provides the circuit.
4. PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERCONNECTION
The causality principle implies that if variations in OLO estimates do not result in increases in PT costs, the OLO should not be affected. In this context, and considering that the credibility of traffic and transmission media estimates for interconnection will benefit all parties involved in interconnection, the applicable methodology should specify that PT may recover any expenses incurred, provided they are duly justified and when demonstrated that PT incurred these expenses due to lack of accuracy in the estimates presented by the OLO.
Under the terms of Point III.2 of the resolutions for increased compliance of the RIO 2000 project with the 'Set of items to be included in the RIO 2000', and despite the fact that the maximum period of 6 months proposed by PT to ensure effective initial interconnection between this company and the new companies can, in principle, be considered reasonable, it may be incompatible with the objective of full liberalisation of the sector on 1 January 2000.
In this context, the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal recommends that PT should provide a viable alternative, guaranteeing conditions, albeit transitory, for all reasonable interconnection requests to be satisfied at the shortest possible notice so as to provide for the objective of full liberalisation of the sector on 1 January 2000.
5. NEW SERVICES
PT proposes that at any moment any of the parties may request from the other parties alterations to the services provided as well as provision of a new service or facility which is being provided to other operators, conditional on the circumstances of the moment.
Although this is a positive development, it is still important to clarify that, taking into account that PT should respect the principle of non-discrimination as regards interconnection offered to third parties, this entity should apply the conditions it offers to its own company's services (in particular in the retail market) and also to the services of its subsidiary or associated companies, to those requesting interconnection which offer similar services and are in a similar condition, in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of Decree-Law 415/98 and with the provisions of Article 25 of the same law.
It shall therefore remain safeguarded that, in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination and in compliance with the principle of separation of accounts, the interconnection conditions offered by PT to its own company or to companies within its group in the retail market should be extended, under the same conditions, to OLO.
6. CARRIER SELECTION AND PRE-SELECTION
As calls originated from public call boxes have been considered ineligible for selection/pre-selection, the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal believes that it should also be mentioned, from the start, that this unavailability is conditional on the assessment of net costs of the universal service, regarding public pay phones in particular. On this issue, it is particularly important to consider the results from the evaluation of the net costs of the universal service, in compliance with the provisions of the new Decree-Law on the telecommunications universal service.
7. INTERRUPTION AND SUSPENSION
In order to ensure compliance with the legislation currently in effect regarding procedures for the interruption or suspension of provision, any measure to this effect included in the RIO should comply with the terms of articles 15 to 17 of Decree-Law 290-A/99 of 30 July.
8. PROCEDURES FOR MANAGEMENT, OPERATION, MAINTENANCE AND INTEROPERABILITY TESTS
Given the need for an early definition of interconnection conditions, it is recommended that the Operation and Maintenance Manual, to be made available by the PT, should be issued by 30/11/1999.
9. BILLING SERVICES
As regards billing services, and considering that any prolonged delay in the availability of the billing service on 1 January 2000 may lead to situations of uncertainty in the market, the Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal recommends that all efforts be made to bring forward the deadlines proposed for the entering into operation of the billing and charging service.