During the next two months, the Finnish telecoms regulator (FICORA) will have to provide further evidence in support of its proposal to deregulate the bitstream access market in certain areas of the country. The European Commission, in fact, has serious doubts over its legitimacy, as pointed out in a letter sent on 5 January. The measure would initially benefit the semi-public operator TeliaSonera, at the expense of the competition.a a

According to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, this proposal "is not supported by robust evidence demonstrating that competitive conditions in these areas are really different from those in the rest of Finland, where regulation will stay in place".a

More specifically, FICORA wants to keep regulation in place for the operating areas of most incumbent operators while lifting regulation from a number of densely populated municipalities. These municipalities account for around 35% of all wholesale broadband accesses in Finland.aa

In the key market of broadband services, the EU executive considers that the proposed deregulation would increase the market share of the incumbent operator by as much as 81% in the affected areas, "which could limit the consumers' ability to change operator and benefit from cheaper and more quality services," it warns in its communication.

Validity of criteria

This type of deregulation or 'geographical segmentation' has been much called for by the incumbent operators, in the framework of the current revision of...

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