The regulation of significant market power in electronic communications

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1.1  The new EU Directives for the regulation of electronic communications were adopted on 7th March 2002.  One of the key features of the Directives is the requirement on National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to carry out detailed analysis of markets identified as susceptible to ex ante regulation and to impose appropriate obligations on providers found to have Significant Market Power (SMP).

1.2  In setting SMP obligations, NRAs must ensure that proportionality is achieved and that remedies are targeted at identified problems. At the same time, NRAs will be under a duty to contribute to the achievement of a single market in electronic communications by co-operating with each other and the Commission to ensure consistent application of the Directives and by seeking to agree on the remedies best suited to address particular situations in markets.

1.3  A common EU-wide understanding on the imposition of SMP obligations is essential to ensure that the goals of proportionality and consistency are both achieved.  We understand that the Commission plans to publish a Recommendation giving relevant guidance to NRAs. However, this will not be available until mid-2003 at the earliest and will therefore come too late for NRAs which, like Oftel, aim to make significant progress in reviewing markets and identifying appropriate SMP remedies in the near future. 

1.4 In response to the current lack of EU-wide guidance, BT has developed proposals which are aimed at contributing to the development of a common framework for the imposition of SMP remedies. The intention is to promote discussion among interested parties, and to assist Commission staff preparing the planned Recommendation on remedies and NRAs carrying out market reviews before the Recommendation becomes available.

1.5 Our proposals are set out in this document. Section 2 discusses the generic, high-level principles for the imposition of SMP remedies under the new framework. Section 3 addresses the steps that need to be taken to ensure that any remedies imposed are targeted at the identified problem. Issues to be considered in selecting particular categories and levels of SMP obligation are discussed in Section 4.

1.6  BT hopes that these proposals will provide a useful contribution to the debate on SMP remedies and consistency, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with other interested parties throughout the EU. 

BT welcomes comments on this submission which should be sent by e-mail to:

Mike Fox