Equivalence of treatment model and non-discrimination
Of the countries researched, Iceland and New Zealand have an equivalence access model based on EoI for fixed access services. The UK has an equivalence access model based mainly on EoI.
A mixture of EoI and EoO obligations, depending on the fixed access service requested, applies in Ireland, Italy and Sweden.
Denmark and Poland currently have an EoO regime. In the Czech Republic, the NRA removed the EoI and KPI remedies imposed in 2015, following its fourth round review of market 3a and market 3b in 2018, introducing a more general obligation of non-discrimination. In Australia, the national wholesale-only broadband network is also subject to a general non-discrimination obligation.
This study has also assessed the mechanisms applied by the NRAs in the eight European countries to detect potential discriminatory behaviour and enhance transparency with respect to the delivery and quality of the SMP operator’s regulated wholesale access products in the relevant markets1. In particular, the following aspects have been analysed in connection with the regulatory obligations imposed in the wholesale local access market (M3a) and wholesale central access market (M3b) that are presented as three benchmarking tables in Annex I-III:
- Annex I – Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Service Level Guarantees (SLGs).
- Annex II – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Annex III – Technically Replicability Test (TRT).
In seven out of eight countries, NRAs have imposed an obligation to report KPIs that measure the level of performance in the provision of the relevant wholesale services and compliance with the SLAs. Only in the Czech Republic, the KPI obligations have been removed following legal separation of the incumbent’s retail arm from its wholesale subsidiary.
KPIs are reported on monthly basis in Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Poland and the UK. In Italy, certain KPIs are also on bi-monthly basis. In Ireland and Sweden, KPIs are reported on quarterly basis.
There are also differences between countries in terms of transparency requirements. In three countries KPIs are published on a website available to the general public: in Denmark and Ireland – by the SMP operator, in Sweden – by the regulator. In Iceland and Poland, the KPIs are only available to registered wholesale customers through a password protected website. In the UK, KPIs are reported to the regulator and relevant industry stakeholders, whereas in Italy publication requirements apply to a specific subset of KPIs.
In six countries – Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Sweden – there is also a requirement to report separately internal and external KPIs that enables a comparison between the quality of service the SMP operator supplies to itself or its retail subsidiaries and the quality of service it provides to third-party access seekers.
Models of separation
In the countries researched, nine out of ten adopted separation at the wholesale level.
Ireland, Italy and Poland implement functional separation. The Italian incumbent (Telecom Italia) also notified to the NRA its latest project of voluntary legal separation in September 2020.
The Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland and the UK implement legal separation. The Swedish incumbent, Telia, voluntarily implemented legal separation from 2007 to 2017 through its fully owned subsidiary Skanova Access AB before reintegrating it as a part of a larger wholesale unit (Telia Infra) on 1 January 2018.
To Cullen's knowledge, at present only Australia and New Zealand have implemented structural separation. In Australia, structural separation was completed in July 2020. In New Zealand, the vertically integrated incumbent decided to split itself into two separately listed companies under different ownership in 2011.