Romania’s communications authority gives only conditional approval to Netcity underground fiber optic cable project

Romania’s communications authority ANCOM has approved the access conditions for the Netcity fiber optic network in Bucharest. The Metropolitan Fiber Optic Network for Telecommunications of the Bucharest Municipality, or Netcity as it is more commonly called, received conditional approval from ANCOM as “access to the Netcity network does not fulfill the requirements of non-discrimination, proportionality and objectivity provided by the law.”

ANCOM has given Netcity four months to fulfill its obligations on non-discrimination in access. Reference material with details of access conditions should be published, the restriction of only laying fiber optic cable in ducts constructed should be dropped and customers should not be forced to buy services that they don’t want or need, according to ANCOM.

The communications authority has also set maximum tariffs of EUR 85/km/month, without VAT, for the duct lease service and EUR 22/km/month, without VAT, for the service of dark fiber leases, including for the services so far provided by Netcity Telecom as FTTB branching.

Time limits for resolving contracts and responding to inquiries have been imposed by ANCOM. These include a maximum term for negotiating and concluding a contract for services of two months, a maximum term for processing requests of two working days, a maximum term for the provision of a requested service of four working days and a maximum, unspecified time limit for trouble remedy, for all services provided.

The Netcity project for underground telecommunications cables has seen its share of delays but the first stage, which involved laying 876 km of underground cables, was completed in late 2012. Around 750 km of cables will be laid in the next phase of development. The project started in 2008 with a pilot scheme and has been developed by Netcity Telecom, a public works concession offered by the Bucharest City Hall to UTI Systems, which won the tender for the project.

UTI’s subcontractors are Ericsson Romania and Alcatel Lucent. The first steps for Netcity were taken in 2006, when the project’s documentation was created. UTI got the 49-year concession for the project and will pay a 12 percent annual fee out of the project’s revenues during the concession period.

The total investment required for the project was estimated at around EUR 300 million. The network will have a length of around 1,380 kilometers. The project revenues’ will come from the fees each telecom operator will have to pay to connect to the network, replacing the existing suspended cables in Bucharest.

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(photo source: NetCity’s website; before and after start of project)

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