1st Conference of Wholesale Operators – Open fiber optic networks as a new direction in the development of the telecommunications market

The 1st Conference of Wholesale Operators was held in Warsaw on April 21 this year. The event was attended by representatives of open fiber optic network operators, the most important decision-makers in the industry, as well as representatives of telecommunications chambers, regulators and government agencies. Special guests spoke at the conference: Minister Janusz Cieszynski – Secretary of State to the Prime Minister’s Office and Government Plenipotentiary for Digitalization Jacek Oko – President of UKE and Vincent Garnier – Director General of the FTTH Council in Europe. The conference is expected to be an introduction to an open discussion on the role of wholesale operators in the telecommunications market.

The organizers of the 1st Conference of Wholesale Operators presented a model of open fiber networks aimed at the competitiveness and diversity of services offered, the most efficient use of them. The importance of modern fiber-optic infrastructure for the development of Poland was also stressed during the discussion. According to the conference participants, open networks mean new prospects for the development of the telecommunications market and require a change in the regulatory approach.

Advantages of the wholesale model

The topic of discussion was the main issues related to the activities of the wholesale operator. As a result of the use of the wholesale model in the foreground, there was the issue of benefits for users, operators and regulators.

– This innovative approach is a breakthrough because it is based on cooperation based on transparent rules and natural market mechanisms. Such cooperation of infrastructure operators with service providers is beneficial both for the parties and for market development and competition. In addition, it contributes to the value of the telecommunications market by reducing costs and efficient use of infrastructure. It is also an element of sustainable development and contributes to the protection of the environment, he explains Martha Wojciechowska, President of the Board of Fiberhost SA and President of the Board of the Open Allies Foundation.

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It was noted that the absence of conflicts of interest between the wholesale operator and service providers is a stable basis for the development of business cooperation, which provides many benefits for all parties.

– Wholesale operators are a category of entities selected by the method of implementing innovative telecommunications activities. We want to take an active part in the formation of regulation and regulatory policy, to work together for the development of the market and competition. We are united by openness, we have appropriate views, goals and challenges. We believe that together we can achieve more, he said Jacek Wiśniewski, President of the Board of NEXERA and Vice-President of the Board of the Open Allies Foundation.

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Formal and legal status of the wholesale operator

Another issue discussed was the formal legal status and role of wholesale, as well as the need to include a broad definition of the wholesale operator in the economic market. According to the participants, there is a need for a clear and broad definition of the status of the wholesale operator and a separate regulatory approach to this type of activity. According to experts, the definition proposed by PKE is very narrow.

– The apparent change in market trends has created the need to accurately determine the status of the wholesale operator. The market is moving towards a model in which the retail operator will provide most of the services in the networks of wholesale operators. This year (and in the years to come), the investment burden on the FTTH network will fall mainly on the shoulders of wholesale operators. Our investments reach the most remote areas and are often not commercially attractive to a retail operator. We are building fiber-optic networks using both our own funds and public funds. “Thanks to our investments, we have ambitions for high-speed internet to reach all households in Poland,” he said. Magdalena Russyan, Member of the Operations Board of Światłowód Inwestycje.

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Among the most important tasks facing the conference participants are the elimination of administrative barriers, the development of facilitation in the investment process and the improvement of cooperation with local governments. Priorities also include the application of price flexibility and the determination of the status of a wholesale operator in KPO and FERC.

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– Wholesale operators naturally focus on expanding their infrastructure and do not compete with retailers. They stimulate the market by giving subscribers the freedom to choose from a variety of offers. The absence of conflicts of interest between the wholesale operator and service providers is a stable basis for the development of business cooperation and provides many benefits for all parties. Leszek Chwalik, Vice President of the Board of TAURON Obsługa Klienta Sp. z o. o

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The 1st Wholesale Operators Conference is an initiative of the recently established Open Allies Foundation and leading wholesale operators: Fiberhost, Nexera, Tauron and Światłowód Inwestycje. The project is the beginning of discussions on the role of wholesale operators in the telecommunications market and the regulatory approach to such entities.

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