The European Commission (EC) is presently reviewing its access guidelines to ensure that they are fit for purpose to support national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in the application of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) and can address the current and likely future market structures and issues for the next 8-10 years or so.

The Access Recommendations constitute a very important part of the NRA toolkit as it provides guidelines and interpretation to the EECC legal provisions and seeks to achieve consistency across member states. They are also important for market participants by providing transparency of likely NRA decisions and to hold NRAs to account for compliance with the Recommendations as well as the EECC itself.

Our GOS team have taken time to consider in some detail some of the issues and challenges the new Recommendation should cover, with a focus on the Economic Replicability Test (ERT), how it has been applied historically, what future market structures may look like and whether the ERT remains a useful tool, and a range of other ERT-related analyses. Our discussions papers can be found here.

The EC commissioned a study by Visionary Analytics (VA) across a wide range of issues covered by the Recommendations and VA hosted a workshop to take stakeholder inputs. The slides from that workshop are here.

Issues covered include whether Equivalence of Inputs (EoI) is always necessary or whether Equivalence of Outputs (EoO) may be sufficient. Implementation of EoI takes time, is costly and diverts resources from other activities, but it is critical for the well functioning of wholesale access products. In particular, where directly comparable key performance indicators (KPIs) cannot be identified to check whether EoO is being delivered. In our experience, this is particularly the case for passive access remedies (dark fibre and access to civil engineering infrastructure), where, in the absence of EoI, the regulated provider does no have processes and outputs that can be compared directly to those used by the access seekers. Whilst EoI may be hardest to implement for passive access products, they are also likely to be most critical for those products.