According to foreign media news, recently, Spain’s national market and competition regulator CNMC approved a proposal to update the country’s wholesale fixed broadband rules. It is obviously beneficial to the incumbent operator Telefonica.

In essence, the regulator has increased the number of geographic areas where Telefónica is no longer forced to allow competitors to access its fiber optic network. Telefónica’s sub-brand O2 Spain also seems to benefit from it, as it will be able to remove some of the geographic restrictions in its plan.

CNMC stated in detail that Telefónica will be exempted from providing fiber wholesale access services to its competitors in a total of 696 cities (municipality), which is equivalent to 70% of the Spanish population, which is higher than the previous 66 cities (35% of the Spanish population).

These 696 cities now belong to the so-called “competitive zone”, while the remaining 7453 cities will belong to the “non-competitive zone” and therefore still have to bear wholesale access obligations. For example, in the “non-competitive zone”, Telefónica will still be obliged to provide wholesale services for virtual unbundled access fiber (local NEBA) and NEBA fiber broadband.

CNMC stated that the measure updates the 2016 regulations and is “the result of the competitive dynamics observed since the last regulation”. When the regulator first announced the proposal in November 2020, it stated: “Since the last review, Masmovil, the fourth national operator, has entered the market, providing a nationwide alternative to Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone. And Compared with the 2016 review, other operators, such as Euskaltel and Digi, which launched the new Virgin brand, expanded product and geographic availability.”

CNMC data shows that the number of fiber to the home (FTTH) connections in Spain has increased from 3.1 million in 2015 to nearly 12 million in 2020. CNMC said that in 2015, FTTH accounted for 23% of the market, and it is currently the dominant access technology, accounting for about 75% of the total width of the connection.