Insights Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) consults on its draft Report on the regulatory treatment for fixed and mobile backhaul


BEREC explains that backhaul is an essential element supporting fixed and mobile electronic communication services in the retail market. However, not every service provider, mobile or fixed, active in the electronic communications market has its own complete backhaul network and some have to source inputs from third parties to meet their backhaul network requirements.

BEREC has now published for consultation a draft report on the regulatory treatment for fixed and mobile backhaul for public consultation. The objectives of this report are to present the legal provisions applicable to mobile and fixed backhaul, the regulation in force, and the use of different types of backhaul networks and services in Europe. It also considers the views of operators on their current and future needs for backhaul.

During the research phase, a total of 35 National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), 60 operators and two operators’ associations in Europe replied to BEREC questionnaires on this topic. Most NRAs regulating backhaul consider both traditional leased lines and ethernet services as regulated active wholesale products. Access to passive infrastructure, such as ducts and poles, is also considered obligatory by most NRAs handling inputs for backhaul. Both the NRAs and operators consider backhaul as very important.

The responses provided by the operators on mobile backhaul suggest that there will be a significant shift from radio links to fibre connections driven by the rollout of 5G in the coming years. These fibre connections are expected to be mainly self-supplied, but there is also an expected increase in the demand for dark fibre and passive infrastructure from third parties.

BEREC says that it will continue monitoring the development of backhaul use and needs, as well as the regulation by NRAs of wholesale inputs for backhaul, with a special focus on backhaul needs and use in the deployment of 5G and the application of the new recommendation on relevant markets that entered into force in December 2020.

The consultation closes on 5 November 2021. To access the consultation, click here.