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Access and interconnection



 

1. The Parties shall ensure that any service supplier authorised to provide electronic communication services has the right and obligation to negotiate interconnection with other providers of publicly available electronic communications networks and services. Interconnection should in principle be agreed on the basis of commercial negotiation between the legal persons concerned.

 

2. The Parties shall ensure that service suppliers that acquire information from another service supplier during the process of negotiating interconnection arrangements use that information solely for the purpose for which it was supplied and respect at all times the confidentiality of information transmitted or stored.

 

3. The Parties shall ensure that upon the finding in accordance with Article 116 [of this Agreement] that a relevant market, including those in the attached Annexes [to this Agreement], is not effectively competitive, the regulatory authority has the power to impose on the service supplier designated as having significant market power one or more of the following obligations in relation to interconnection and/or access:

 

(a) obligation of non-discrimination to ensure that the operator applies equivalent

conditions in equivalent circumstances to other service supplier providing

 

32 Licensing fees do not include payments for auction, tendering or other non-discriminatory means of awarding concessions, or mandated contributions to universal service provision.


 

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equivalent services, and provides services and information to others under the same conditions and of the same quality as it provides for its own services, or those of its subsidiaries or partners;

 

(b) obligation on a vertically integrated company to make transparent its wholesale prices and its internal transfer prices, where there is a requirement for non-discrimination or for prevention of unfair cross-subsidy. The regulatory authority may specify the format and accounting methodology to be used;

 

 

(c) obligations to meet reasonable requests for access to, and use of, specific network elements and associated facilities including unbundled access to the local loop, inter alia, in situations where the regulatory authority considers that denial of access or unreasonable terms and conditions having a similar effect would hinder the emergence of a sustainable competitive market at the retail level, or would not be in the end user's interest;

 

(d) obligation to provide specified services on a wholesale basis for resale by third parties; to grant open access to technical interfaces, protocols or other key technologies that are indispensable for the interoperability of services or virtual network services; to provide co-location or other forms of facility sharing, including cable duct, building or mast sharing; to provide specified services needed to ensure interoperability of end-to-end services to users, including facilities for intelligent network services; to provide access to operational support systems or similar software systems necessary to ensure fair competition in the provision of services; to interconnect networks or network facilities.



 

Regulatory authorities may attach conditions including fairness, reasonableness and timeliness to the obligations included under this and the previous paragraph;

 

(e) obligations relating to cost recovery and price controls, including obligations for cost orientation of prices and obligations concerning cost accounting systems, for the provision of specific types of interconnection and/or access, in situations where a market analysis indicates that a lack of effective competition means that the operator concerned might sustain prices at an excessively high level, or apply a price squeeze, to the detriment of end-users.

 

Regulatory authorities shall take into account the investment made by the operator and allow him a reasonable rate of return on adequate capital employed, taking into account the risks involved.

 

(f) obligation to publish the specific obligations imposed on service supplier by the regulatory authority identifying the specific product/service and geographical markets. Up-to-date information, provided that it is not confidential and it does not comprise business secrets is made publicly available in manner that guarantees all interested parties easy access to that information;

 

(g) obligations of transparency requiring operators to make public specified information and in particular, where an operator has obligations of non-


 

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discrimination, the regulator may require that operator to publish a reference offer, which shall be sufficiently unbundled to ensure that service suppliers are not required to pay for facilities which are not necessary for the service requested, giving a description of the relevant offerings broken down into components according to market needs, and the associated terms and conditions including prices.

 

4. The Parties shall ensure that a service supplier requesting interconnection with an service supplier designated as having significant market power shall have recourse, either at any time or after a reasonable period of time which has been made publicly known, to an independent domestic body, which may be a regulatory body as referred to in Article 115(d) [of this Agreement], to resolve disputes regarding terms and conditions for interconnection and/or access.

 

 

Article 119

 

Scarce resources

 

3. The Parties shall ensure that any procedures for the allocation and use of scarce resources, including frequencies, numbers and rights of way, shall be carried out in an objective, proportionate, timely, transparent and non-discriminatory manner. The current state of allocated frequency bands shall be made publicly available, but detailed identification of frequencies allocated for specific government uses is not required.

 

4. The Parties shall ensure the effective management of radio frequencies for telecommunications services in their territory with a view to ensure effective and efficient use of the spectrum. Where demand for specific frequencies exceeds their availability, appropriate and transparent procedures shall be followed for the assignment of these frequencies in order to optimize their use and facilitate the development of competition.

 

5. The Parties shall ensure that the assignment of national numbering resources and the management of the national numbering plans are entrusted to the regulatory authority.

 

6. Where public or local authorities retain ownership or control of service suppliers operating public communications networks and/or services, effective structural separation needs to be ensured between the function responsible for granting the rights of way from activities associated with ownership or control.

 

 

Article 120

 

Universal service

 

1. Each Party has the right to define the kind of universal service obligations it wishes to maintain.

 

2. Such obligations will not be regarded as anti-competitive per se, provided they are

administered in a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory way. The


 

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administration of such obligations shall also be neutral with respect to competition and be not more burdensome than necessary for the kind of universal service defined by the Party.

 

3. The Parties shall ensure that all service suppliers should be eligible to ensure universal service and no service supplier shall be a priori excluded. The designation shall be made through an efficient, transparent, objective and non-discriminatory mechanism. Where necessary, Parties shall assess whether the provision of universal service represents an unfair burden on organisations(s) designated to provide universal service. Where justified on the basis of such calculation, and taking into account the market benefit if any which accrues to an organisation that offers universal service, regulatory authorities shall determine whether a mechanism is required to compensate the service supplier(s) concerned or to share the net cost of universal service obligations.

 

4. The Parties shall ensure that:

 

(a) directories of all subscribers33 are available to users, whether printed or electronic, or both, and are updated on a regular basis, and at least once a year;

 

(b) organisations that provide the services referred to in subparagraph (a) apply the principle of non-discrimination to the treatment of information that has been provided to them by other organisations.

 

 

Article 121

 





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