Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bahrain - access to infrastructure

New fixed-line operators 'are facing hurdles'

Despite fixed-line telephones having been liberalised since 2004, new market players are still facing obstacles, according to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) general director Alan Horne. Now the TRA has launched a public consultation exercise on draft guidelines for infrastructure deployment to help further promote competition and choices in the fixed-line market.

"Until now new market players have faced obstacles in deploying country-wide alternative cable networks," said Mr Horne.

"Effective access to public and private properties to deploy telecommunications infrastructure is identified as a key element for fair and sustainable competition in the telecommunications market.

"As such TRA, supported by the Second National Telecommunications Plan, is working to remove the barriers for infrastructure deployment, in order to enable all appropriately licenced telecommunications operators the facility of installing their own physical networks.

"This will promote investment in infrastructure and will lead to the provision of more choice for consumers in the telecommunications market," he added.

The draft document provides all licenced operators of public telecommunications networks and other concerned parties the necessary guidelines, specifications, and conditions for the design, deployment, operation and protection of telecommunications network infrastructure in public and private property.

As part of its role to promote effective and fair competition among licenced operators, TRA has already set up a Telecommunications Technical Office, which now provides the interface to interact on behalf of the industry with the Central Planning Unit of the Works Ministry for the planning and deployment of any new telecommunications infrastructure.

"The guidelines in the consultation document will enable fixed line operators to lay their networks under fair and transparent processes and procedures," said TRA's telecommunications access and infrastructure manager Adel Al Showaikh.

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