BEREC’s Opinion on the revision of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive
16 March 2021
After the diligent work, the Board of Regulators adopted and published the BEREC Opinion on the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD) revision. It is based on previous work related to this topic and the experiences gained by National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) with the BCRD, particularly as a dispute settlement body and single information point at a national level.
BEREC considers that access to existing physical infrastructure and coordination of civil works are important in order to reduce the costs and increase the speed of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks. However, network operators of other sectors and the electronic communications sector are often not interested in sharing their physical infrastructure with (other) electronic communications network operators. Therefore, the Board of Regulators agrees with the European Commission that the principle of the dispute settlement process is very important. Moreover, BEREC sees that the NRAs can play a vital role in this process at the national level. BEREC also endorses the NRAs role in performing the Single Information Point (SIP) functions that ensure transparency on the existing physical infrastructure available, at least for the NRAs which already perform the function of the SIP.
Wireless networks and sustainability
The BEREC Opinion also focuses on the topics requested by the European Commission, such as wireless networks (e.g. 5G) and sustainability aspects. The European Commission has identified digital technologies as a critical enabler for attaining the sustainability goals of 'the European Green Deal' in many different sectors. It has also committed to assessing the need for incentives to promote the deployment of more sustainable electronic communications networks as part of the ICT sector's efforts to undergo its green transformation. BEREC emphasises that the coordination of civil works and joint use of existing physical infrastructure might reduce the environmental impact of electronic communications networks deployment.
In line with BEREC's strategic priority of promoting full connectivity throughout Europe, BEREC highly supports the investment in very high-capacity broadband connectivity infrastructure, including 5G, on a European-wide level. BEREC prioritises work that improves the general conditions for the expansion and take-up of secure, competitive and reliable high-capacity networks (both fixed and wireless) across Europe, while ensuring a smooth transition from legacy infrastructures.
Shaping Europe's Digital Future
In June 2020, the European Commission published a roadmap concerning the revision of the BCRD. The revision is part of the actions announced in the European Commission's Communication 'Shaping Europe's Digital Future'. For digital infrastructure and networks alone, the EU has an investment gap of EUR 65 billion per year. Despite the mobilised national and EU funding resources, it is crucial to further reduce network deployment cost, including for fibre and 5G networks.
The Directive aims to facilitate and incentivise the roll-out of high-speed electronic communications networks by promoting the joint use of existing physical infrastructure and enabling a more efficient deployment of new physical infrastructure, in order that such networks can be rolled-out at lower cost.