The European Commission (EC) is conducting a review of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD) addressing the following questions:

  • Has it worked to help reduce costs of and speed up deployment of new very high capacity networks (VHCNs)?
  • Has it had unintended consequences?
  • Should changes be made to increase/reduce its scope?
  • Should it be made clearer with firm rules and/or guidelines?

Additionally the review covers information sharing provisions, access to in-house-wiring and all other aspects of the Directive. The EC commissioned WIK to conduct a study to support the review and WIK has run workshops to present options of potential changes and seeking inputs from stakeholders. 

The BCRD is intended to assist in the deployment of new VHCNs, but it is important to ensure that it does not inadvertently become a risk-factor to such deployment. Smaller operators building VHCNs, in particular, are concerned that the BCRD imposes an obligation for them to provide access to their new infrastructure immediately upon it being built. It is important that the review acknowledges the potential for unintended consequences of the BCRD and uses this opportunity to introduce increased conditionality to exclude access to new VHCNs from its scope and to clarify that any access pricing should recognise the opportunity cost faced by the VHCN operator.

Additionally, there is evidence from member states of the BCRD replacing access to civil engineering assets based on significant market power (SMP) regulation as per the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). Given the lack of specificity of the BCRD in terms of the access obligations it infers, there could be a real risk that replacing SMP access with BCRD-based access could result in an actual increase of access costs and a reduction in functionality and transparency of civil engineering access, resulting in medium and long term harm to consumers and economies.

The BCRD could have a significantly positive impact on VHCN deployment across member states, but it is a delicate balance and it is critical that stakeholders engage actively in this process.

See also: BEREC report on the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive