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Hasty aerial cables cutting in Timisoara

Some telcos, members of ANISP, reported that Timisoara City Hall started yesterday (18 March 2019) actions to remove aerial cables / networks in certain areas of the city. Photo: https://www.opiniatimisoarei.ro

ANISP supports the development of underground networks in urban areas as they have clear advantages over aerial networks, both aesthetically and in terms of infrastructure security.

In order to move the existing aerial networks underground, telcos expect to find true partners in the local authorities – to cooperate for finding the best solutions in the general interest of both citizens and business environment, whose healthy development is also reflected in the welfare of citizens.

That is why we believe that local authorities, before proceeding to unilateral actions of dismantling aerial communications infrastructure, must make sure alternatives are offered – as in Oradea (a project developed by the City Hall and RCS-RDS) or Bucharest (a project developed by the City Hall and Netcity Telecom) etc.

In these examples, once an alternative subterranean infrastructure was available, telecommunications operators immediately started migrating to underground networks, so the local authorities obtained multiple benefits:

  • improved city aspect and citizens’ safety;
  • citizens were provided access to quality communications services;
  • local budget revenue increased.

In places where the underground migration alternative exists (for example, subterranean ducts), local authorities must allow enough time for migration, since:

  • telcos are often forced to work on multiple fronts;
  • generally, human resources are not sufficient to carry out massive works in short time;
  • a time span is also required for supplying materials (fiber optic cables);
  • chaotic cable cuts can lead to interruptions in Internet services to residential users but also to interruptions in connections serving mobile base stations (including access to emergency 112 service) or interruptions of other important information society services (i.e. ATMs, POSs, equipment and traffic monitoring etc).

We ask the local authorities in Timisoara (and any other territorial administrative unit) to postpone aerial networks dismantling until alternative (underground) solutions are available to allow for a safe relocation of the fiber optics cables. Also, where elements of underground infrastructure exist, the involved parties need to make sure that such can be used (for example: are not clogged, are not not interrupted, they really reach the buildings to be connected and access is made in a non-discriminatory way and at fair prices).

On the legal action initiated by the Bucharest City Hall against Regulatory Authority (ANCOM) Decision 40/2019

ANISP makes the following statements related to the action opened by the Bucharest City Hall and the project company Netcity Telecom against ANCOM President’s Decision no. 40/2019, a decision correcting a number of abusive provisions met in the contracts for accessing the underground communications city infrastructure:

ANCOM Decision 40/2019 is a very important act for the communications sector development in Bucharest and nation-wide. Prior to adoption of ANCOM’s decision 40/2019, development of fiber optic communications networks was hampered by exaggerated access fees – by the Netcity Telecom project company.

Having a monopolistic position on the market for access to underground infrastructure and interpreting for its own benefit certain provisions of the concession contract executed with the General Council of Bucharest Municipality, the project company Netcity Telecom imposed tough technical and economic conditions on the business environment, obliged to comply under the threat of immediate dismantling of previously existing networks.

As a result, many of the alternative operators have disappeared and networks development has slowed down. Restricting competition in any sector leads to higher end-user rates and lower quality services.

Even some directions declared as priorities in governmental policies (Romania’s digitalization, 5G adoption, IoT, e-government, telemedicine etc) are endangered by unregulated monopolies / oligopolies. For example, in order to the fully take advantage of the 5G technology, it is necessary to construct high density networks having fiber optic backhaul. A prohibitive cost of installing optical fiber cancels the benefits of 5G.

In view of the above considerations, Law 159/2016, which transposes into Romania a European directive on the reduction of the cost of installing communications networks (Directive 2014/61/EU), was strictly necessary and its necessity has been manifested for many years. Law 159/2016 in turn imposed ANCOM, by art. 47. par. 9, to take regulatory action in such situations as the Netcity project.

The community of communications service providers grouped in ANISP considers ANCOM’s decision 40/2019 to be an important step in the right direction, in all relevant respects (for reasons of development of the strategic sector of electronic communications, for economic, social, legal reasons) . We also call on Bucharest City Hall not to look at this decision only from the narrow perspective of lowering (albeit not very significant, if any) its revenues from the corresponding royalty fee, to cancel the court action against ANCOM 40/2019 decision – and to support the development which will bring much more benefits to the inhabitants of Bucharest, both directly (through the services offered) and indirectly (through the taxes paid by the companies that will be able to develop once the monopolistic barriers are eliminated by ANCOM regulations).

We believe the chances of success in court for PMB’s action are very low, as there can be no solid reasoning for canceling ANCOM’s decision 40/2019; a waiver of this legal action means saving time and money.

Last but not least, ANISP expresses its support for the development of the Bucharest underground infrastructure (Netcity), but only under the provisions of Law 159/2016 and under the conditions legally imposed by the market arbitrator – ANCOM.

File references, according to the just.ro portal:

http://portal.just.ro/2/SitePages/dosar.aspx?id_inst=2&id_dosar=200000000370647

http://portal.just.ro/2/SitePages/dosar.aspx?id_inst=2&id_dosar=200000000370650

MCSI – Advisory Board – Digital Romania

Today, February 12, 2019, the inaugural meeting of the Digital Romania Advisory Board was held at the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, under the chairmanship of Minister Alexandru Petrescu. Photo: MCSI

ANISP was represented by Mr. Cătălin Cuturela, president; and by Mr. Tiberiu Gîndu, Executive Director. Mr Cuturela pointed out the need to cancel the provisions of GEO 114/2018 on the 3% monitoring fee and up to 10% of the turnover fines for discrepancies in the network authorization regime. He also insisted on the need to change law 50/1991 by establishing a derogatory regime for installation of communication cables – to facilitate construction of gigabit networks and society digitalization.

The working groups defined within this Advisory Board are:

  1.     E-skills
  2.     Ecommerce
  3.     Smart city
  4.     Advanced digital technologies
  5.     Telecom

Further details: https://www.comunicatii.gov.ro/prima-intrunire-a-consiliul-consultativ-romania-digitala/

ANISP in National News Radio: Data Protection

On January 28, 2019, Mr. Tiberiu Gîndu, ANISP CEO, had a brief intervention on RRA (national news radio) upon issues related to personal data protection and security. Photo: Radio Romania Actualitati

(Romanian language)

OUG 114/2018 – Industry Feedback

The National Association of Internet Service Providers in Romania (ANISP) draws attention to the negative effects of GEO 114/29.Dec.2018 on the development of this strategic importance industry.

Article 77 of the Emergency Ordinance requires a surcharge of 3% of turnover, generating the following negative effects:

  1. The excessive taxation of the telecommunications industry is affecting investments. Consequently, the targets for Romania’s digitalizing, introduction of 5G, IoT, smart city technologies, coverage of “white” areas – will be missed. This will lead to a slowdown in Romania’s future economic growth;
  2. The excessive taxation of the telecommunications industry leads to higher tariffs for end-users. As a side effect, the increase in the number of Internet subscriptions and / or mobile telecommunication services will slow down;
  3. The excessive taxation of the telecommunications industry is affecting the competitive environment. Competition on the telecoms market is currently very intense. Net profit margins of the largest operators are averaging at 5%, in certain years falling in the negative territory. If in such an ultra-competitive environment a 3% turnover burden is added, some alternative operators will face bankruptcy. As an indirect effect, a decrease in the state budget revenues stemming from wage related taxes of the personnel facing unemployment shall be observed, as well a new brain drain of the most qualified to other EU countries;
  4. The excessive taxation of the telecommunications industry contravenes the Romanian and European law on telecommunications. Thus:
    (a) ANCOM (the regulatory authority) has to charge tariffs to ensure nothing more than its normal functioning (under Article 12 of Directive 2002/20 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorization of electronic communications networks and services);
    (b) Directive 2014/61 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 requires Member States to identify measures to reduce the cost of installing electronic communications networks;
    (c) The Constitution provides for the rightful settlement of tax burdens (Article 56) and equality before the law (Article 16) – articles infringed by discriminatory over-taxation of providers of electronic communications services;
    (d) The Constitution provides for the priority of EU rules on contrary provisions of national law (Articles 11 and 148) – articles violated by the adoption of a mechanism for setting the monitoring tariff, contrary to the European calculation mechanism related to NRA budgeting.

Benchmarking against other EU states, one notice the monitoring fee is elsewhere much lower or even non-existent. For example, the UK regulator (OFCOM) is requesting a 0.1160% turnover rate – only for companies with a turnover of over 5 million pounds (according to OFCOM website for 2018 and 2019). In Germany, the Bundesnetzagentur does not charge surveillance fees. These examples demonstrate once again that the new Romanian 3% monitoring tax is exaggerated by far.

Another series of negative effects is generated by art. 85 of Order 114/2018, since excessive penalties – up to 10% of turnover – are imposed on “suppliers who contract maintenance, replacement of networks … and the infrastructure elements necessary to support them … in the absence of a building permit”. In other words, an operator performing maintenance work (for example, an intervention to repair a communications cable) can be fined with 10% of the turnover because it is not waiting the issue of a construction permit – a process that may take several months. Meanwhile, service users are deeply disturbed (and for good reasons) by a service unavailability of several hours.

Having in mind all these effects, ANISP requested the Ombudsman to submit to the Constitutional Court’s attention the unconstitutionality of art. 77 point 4 of GEO 114/2018. At the same time, ANISP sent a letter to the EU Commission’s Directorate-General for Communication, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), requesting Commission’s support, based on the above arguments.

ANCOM Advisory Board Dedicated to the Draft Decision to Regulate Access to Netcity Infrastructure

Today, the 20th of December 2018, a Consultative Council meeting was held at ANCOM headquarters, focusing on the draft decision on the regulation of access conditions in Netcity infrastructure.

There was a survey of the industry’s observations and the latest arguments were heard before the decision itself will be published (first part of January 2019).

The main tariffs will become:

a) 73.16 euro / km / month for the main tube rental service;

b) 0.224 euro / meter / month for connection tube (”racord”);

c) 0.277 euro / meter / month for the FTTB branch service;

d) EUR 11.43 / hour for the attendant service (business hours);

e) 17.15 euro / hour for the attendant service (outside business hours);

f) 526 euro / course / participant for the installer certification service.

As a significant change from the original project, it is noted that the connection tubes (”racorduri”) are to be billed proportionally with their effective length. Thus, for an average length of 28 meters (announced by some ANISP members), the monthly tariff for a connection tube shall be EUR 6.27 (instead of EUR 20 currently).

The ANISP community considers this project an important step forward in normalizing the access to infrastructure on the territory of Bucharest.

ALEF Distribution joined ANISP

On December 4, 2018 ALEF Distribution, provider of equipment, solutions and training, specialized in Cisco, NetApp, Meraki, active and leader in several Eastern European markets in the field of distribution, data infrastructures, IT security & voice communications became a valued ANISP member.

ANCOM has launched a public consultation for acces conditions in NetCity metropolitan network

ANCOM has published today for public consultation “The project for the calculation model on the cost of access services offered to the providers of public electronic communications networks for access to the physical infrastructure realized within the framework of the Bucharest Metropolitan Fiber Optic Network, Netcity“.

According to documents issued by the Authority, tariffs for NetCity services should become:

– 75.97 euro / km / month for the Tubecity Transport service (from 85 to 120 euro / km / month at present);
– 3.02 euro / pcs. for the Tubecity Connection type A service with a maximum length of 20 meters (from EUR 10 / month at present);
– 10.87 euro / pcs. for the Tubecity Connection type B and especially with a length of more than 20 meters (between 20 and 50 euro / piece currently);
– 8.03 euros for the FTTB Connection rental service (between 10 and 15 euros today).

The majority of telecommunications and Internet service providers grouped in ANISP believe that adopting such regulation is an important step in the right direction, but there is room for optimization, as well.

This regulation has been expected by suppliers since NetCity began (about 10 years ago); a first attempt by ANCOM materialized in the Approval no. DER / 928 / 30.05.2013 (issued according Law 154/2012) was ignored by the addressees of the notice (Bucharest City Hall and NetCity Telecom respectively) – in their opinion the Approval was “indicative”.

The project submitted to the consultation is now following the provisions of art. 47 par. (9) of the Law no. 159/2016 which obliges ANCOM to issue decisions in order to establish and impose on the persons implementing physical infrastructure projects with the participation of local authorities the technical and economic conditions in which the access of the providers of public electronic communications networks.

The high tariffs for access to NetCity so far have led to a reduction in competition in the communications services market (many alternative operators disappearing) and to the slowing down of the industry development in Bucharest.

Briefly on the “NetCity challenges – 2nd stage” conference

Today, on September 12, 2018, the conference “Challenges of NETCITY: Stage II comes with over 2,000 km, but also with customers’ opposition” – in the organization of ANISP and InterLAN.

The event was attended by numerous providers of electronic communications services, members of the two associations, who argued that Netcity should be developed in a properly regulated framework.

At present, the development of the underground communications infrastructure project does not comply with the provisions of the ANCOM Approval issued 2013, obliging the telecom operators to pay arbitrarily imposed exaggerated tariffs – which seriously affects the competitive environment in Bucharest, the negative effects finally being felt by end users – subscribers of Internet / telephony / television services.

The operators community appeals to local authorities to allow further development of the project either with respect to the Approval of the 2013 Regulatory Authority (ANCOM) or to wait a new Decision – which is mandatory under Law 159/2016 – to be issued by ANCOM in the immediate time frame.

Operators also require ANCOM to issue and enforce as soon as possible the Decision provided for in Article 47, paragraph 9 – of the Physical Infrastructure Rules of the Electronic Communications Network Law (159/2016), taking into account all the arguments presented during public consultations.

Press Conference: NetCity Stage II brings in 2000 km of new underground infrastructure but also customer’s opposition

The National Association of Internet Service Providers in Romania (ANISP) and the InterLAN Association organize a conference on the following themes:

Challenges of NETCITY: Stage II comes with over 2,000 km, but also with the opposition of the network’s customers at the city hall’s decision.

Date and Time: 12.Sep.2018, 10:00
Location: Radisson Blu Hotel, Merope Hall
Speakers: Bogdan Cojocaru (Ministre – MCSI), Eduard Lovin (VP-ANCOM), Nicolae Stoean (Technical Manager PMB), Catalin Cuturela (ANISP President), Tiberiu Gîndu (CEO – ANISP), Eric Andrei Băleanu InterLAN Association), Marian Bumbar (General Council, PMB), Dorin Odiaţiu (Public Affairs – Orange Romania), Dan Georgescu (President – AOTR)

Moderator: Ion Vaciu (Director – Mobile Communications Magazine)

Stage II for the expansion of the NETCITY metropolitan network, with over 2,000 kms, puts the interests of Bucharest City Hall as a Concessioning party and those of the owner of NETCITY, Direct One (concessionaire) against with those of Internet Service Providers which are NETCITY customers, as stated by ANISP and InterLAN officials.

PMB (Bucharest City Hall) approved in mid-July 2018 the technical and economic indicators related to the feasibility study Stage II on NETCITY investments, ignoring the views of ANISP and InterLAN operators.

ANISP and InterLAN support the Netcity project, which will be implemented throughout Bucharest, as it is a much better solution (technically) and much more elegant (urbanistic) than the aerial lines. However, ANISP’s wish is that this development should be done in the light of the ANCOM Approval of May 30, 2013, and not under the conditions established by NetCity’s unilateral interpretation of the Concession Contract concluded with the PMB in 2008. Alternatively, ANISP considers, one should expect ANCOM to develop the new commercial conditions, according to the law 159/2016, stipulated in the Authority’s calendar for 2018. It is underlined that the large telecoms and internet operators present on the Romanian market have a similar position with ANISP and so does InterLAN, too.

Guests:
MCSI, ANCOM, Competition Council, Bucharest City Hall, AOTR, AOMR, AFOR

ANISP (members): Euroweb Romania, GTS Telecom, Rolink Plus SA, Media SAT, ICI – RoTLD, Prime Telecom SRL, SN Radiocomunications SA, iNES, Telekom Romania Communications, Digital Cable Systems, Special Telecommunications, Allnet Telecom SRL, Combridge, NextGen Communications, DotRo Telecom, Direct One SA, ROL Online Network, Distinct New Media, ITC, Chroot Network, M247 Europe, Infinity Telecom, TVSat 2002, Starnet Media Communications.

Interlan (members): Allnet Telecom, Almsoft Computers, Ambra, Bensoft Telecom, Bestnet Service, Canal S, CNetwork, Cobranet, Computer Wired, Communications Starnet Media, Conect Intercom, Data ZYX, Digital Construction Network, Dynamic Connection, Dynamic Distribution, Efx Invest, Energy Dot, Fidelnet, GMB Computers, Impuls Conect, Internet Oltenia, Massive Telecom, Metropolitan Interlink, Millennium IT, Net Gate Communications, Phoenix Telecom & Media Services, , Softkit, Speed ​​Network, Teen Telecom, Teleplus, Tennet Telecom, Tier, Top Telecom and Viva Telecom.

Documentary resources
1. Announcement of 2013: http://www.ancom.org.ro/legea-infrastructurii_4982
2. http://www.ancom.org.ro/ancom-emite-avizul-pentru-reteau-metropolitana-de-fibra-optica-a-municipiului-bucuresti-pentru-telecomunicatii-netcity_4983
3. ANCOM 2018 Calendar: http://www.ancom.org.ro/formdata-269-49-346
4. Law 159/2016 (Article 47 paragraph 9!): Https://lege5.ro/Gratuit/gezdinruga3q/legea-nr-159-2016-privind-regimul-infrastructurii-fizice-a-retelelor-de-informatiilor communications-electronics-such-and-for-determining-of-steps-for-reducing-cost-of-installation-network-communication-el
5. HCGMB (Decision of the Bucharest City Council) through which PMB decides to extend the Netcity network by more than 2,000 km by 2021: http://www4.pmb.ro/wwwt/institutions/CGMB/sedinte/ordinea_de_zi/db/13_20180726.pdf

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