1.1 Under the common European regulatory framework for electronic communications Ofcom is required to carry out periodic reviews of electronic communications markets in the UK. We are therefore commencing a series of market reviews (collectively referred to as our Fixed Access Market Reviews) to examine competitive conditions in the following fixed access markets over the period from April 2014 to March 2017:
1.2 The WLA market covers the connection from the local exchange/access node to the end user. This connection is needed to support fixed line services such as voice calls and broadband internet access. The other markets covered by this review concern the provision of active services – they take the access connection and add electronics to make it a useable service. The WFAEL market concerns the provision of wholesale analogue voice services (the product offered by BT in this market is called wholesale line rental (WLR)). The ISDN2 and ISDN30 markets cover the provision of a wholesale digital telephone line service that bundles either two or up to 30 channels over a common bearer circuit.
1.3 These reviews will:
In formulating our approach to market definition and SMP we will take due account of the European Commission's Recommendation on relevant product and service markets (the Recommendation) and SMP Guidelines.
1.4 Should our initial analysis of the WLA and WFAEL markets indicate that charge controls remedies on Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) are likely to be appropriate for the period after the expiry of the current charge controls on 1 April 2014, we will review these as part of those market reviews. This CFI therefore covers questions relating to charge control remedies.
1.5 Although some of the markets under review directly concern services at the wholesale level, decisions taken here will ultimately affect the prices, choice and availability of critically important services in the retail market, such as current generation broadband and traditional voice services.
1.6 The emergence of next generation access (NGA) and super-fast broadband is important to these reviews as consumers may move away from the existing networks and onto these new networks. However, we are conscious that investment and take-up of these new networks and services is still at an early stage. We will therefore be looking to structure any NGA interventions to promote new investments whilst at the same time maintaining competitive choice for consumers so that they can move to these new networks/services when they are ready.
1.7 We are now issuing a Call for Inputs to seek stakeholders' views on key issues for these reviews before we start our substantive analysis of competitive conditions in these markets. We seek responses to this CFI by 5pm 20 December 2012. Responses should be in writing (either through our website or via email or post – see Annex 1 of the document).