Access to networks needed for convergence

Companies have warned the European Commission that access to communications networks risks becoming a significant bottleneck to the convergence of IT, telecommunications and broadcasting, a senior Commission official said yesterday.

"Unfortunately, the solutions they put forward were highly diverse," the official said, in reference to the consultations that the commission had with industry representatives on the subject of convergence.

While broadcasters and new entrants into the telecom market want broad access to the local loop to reach as many potential users as rapidly as possible, incumbent telecom operators, including some cable operators, oppose the idea of opening the local loop because it will discourage investments in new infrastructure.

The commission believes the solution entails subjecting all access modes, whether cable or telecom, to the same rules and regulations, the spokesman said. The consultations with the industry will be taken into consideration in proposals next year to update existing laws and regulations.

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