Ofcom, the regulatory authority in the UK, has today published its final Determination under Section 190 of the Communications Act 2003, and Direction under Regulation 6(6) of the Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations 1997, resolving a dispute between Telewest (cable-tv based telephony provider) and BT (the fixed incumbent operator) on reciprocity of interconnection charges for fixed call termination.
The final decision is identical to Ofcom's proposals which were put to public consultation last month, and on which T-REGS reported in detail in a news item dated 19 March 2004, i.e. reciprocal call termination charges are being mandated.
This decision is clearly of wider relevance, for all other fixed operators in the UK, and is likely also to be closely scrutinised by regulators and operators in other EU Member States.
Rather interestingly, Telenet, a Belgian cable-tv based telephony provider, which is known in the industry for having successfully secured non-reciprocal (much higher) call termination charges in Belgium, is listed among the respondents to the Ofcom consultation.
The Telenet contribution was marked confidential, and the Ofcom documents make no reference to its exact contents.
T-REGS note: in France and in The Netherlands, cable-tv based telephony provider UPC has secured a system of "delayed reciprocity", whereby it is entitled to apply a call termination charge which is equivalent to the regulated call termination charge of the fixed incumbent operator as it was applicable, respectively 5 years (France) and 3 years (Netherlands) earlier.
T-REGS is actively involved in discussions surrounding the regulation of fixed (and mobile) call termination in many EU Member States. For further information, or a discussion, about fixed call termination, reciprocity, differentiation, delayed reciprocity, etc. please contact Yves Blondeel.