For companies deploying networks, access to existing physical infrastructure can allow significant savings, up to 60% in some cases, as compared to excavating afresh. owners of existing infrastructure are also expected to benefit, for instance energy utilities exploiting synergies with smart grids deployment. Access to passive infrastructure enhances efficiencies, minimizes the costs and accelerates the deployment of telecommunication infrastructure.

Articles 3 and 4 of the Directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (2014/61/EU) allow making use of all relevant and available physical infrastructure for the roll-out of high-speed electronic communication networks.

According to the Directive, network operators (electronic communication, energy utilities, etc.) are to give access to their physical infrastructure (e.g. ducts, manholes, cabinets, poles) to operators intending to roll out high-speed broadband networks under fair and reasonable terms and conditions.

In order to facilitate access to existing physical infrastructure in a transparent way, public communications network providers have the right to access minimum information, upon request, regarding:

  • location and route,
  • type and current use of the infrastructure, and
  • a contact point.

Member States may allow access to minimum information on existing infrastructure to be limited only if necessary in view of the security of the networks and their integrity, national security, public health or safety, confidentiality or operating and business secrets.