Public consultation on the mobile and fixed backhaul ex-ante regulation

05 October 2021

Backhaul is an essential element supporting fixed and mobile electronic communication services in the retail market. However, not every service provider – either mobile or fixed – active in the electronic communications market has a complete own backhaul network at its disposal. Such undertakings have to source inputs from other actors to meet their backhaul network requirements.

BEREC invites stakeholders to provide their input to the draft report on fixed and mobile backhaul launched for public consultation on 5 October 2021. The overall objective of the document is to present the legal provisions applicable to mobile and fixed backhaul, the views from operators and their and current and future needs for backhaul, as well as the regulation in force and the use of different types of backhaul networks and services in Europe.

Results of the BEREC questionnaires

Earlier, during the research phase, a total of 35 National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), 60 operators and two operators’ associations in Europe replied to BEREC questionnaires on this topic. Most NRAs regulating backhaul consider both traditional leased lines and ethernet services as regulated active wholesale products. Apart from those, access to passive infrastructures such as ducts and poles is also imposed by the majority of NRAs handling inputs for backhaul. Both the national regulatory bodies and operators consider backhaul as very important.  

The responses provided by the operators on mobile backhaul suggest that there will be a significant shift from radio links to fibre connections driven by the rollout of 5G in the upcoming years. These fibre connections are expected to be mainly self-supplied, but there is also an expected increase in the demand for dark fibre and passive infrastructure from third parties. 

BEREC will continue monitoring the evolution of backhaul use and needs, as well as its regulation by NRAs of wholesale inputs for backhaul, with a special focus on backhaul needs and use for 5G deployment and the application of the new recommendation on relevant markets that entered into force in December 2020. 

Opportunity to engage in discussion 

On 6 October 2021, in Brussels, BEREC will hold a public debriefing on the outcomes of the plenary meetings. Among other topics, the BEREC Market and Economic Analysis Working Group Co-chairs will also present the draft document and reply to stakeholders’ questions. The public consultation on the draft report will run from 5 October until 5 November. The final document is planned to be adopted in the first quarter of 2022. 

The stakeholders are also invited to meet and greet the BEREC working group Co-chairs at the BEREC Stakeholder Forum on 28 October in Brussels. Participation at the “Meet&Greet” sessions is upon registration and depends on availability.