On June 9, 2016, the Lower House of the Polish Parliament passed the Development of Telecom Services and Networks Support and Other Amendments Act1, known as "Mega-Act Amendment".
Now the Act will be reviewed by the Senate and if unamended will be subsequently forwarded for signature to the President of Poland. The new regulations are scheduled to take effect as early as July 1, 2016 (except selected regulations, which will become operative as of January 1, 2017) – this deadline was set by the EU legislation authorities which adopted the "Broadband Cost Reduction Directive" on May 15, 2013.2
The Mega-Act Amendment will have a substantial impact on the telecom businesses and other companies vested with public utility duties3 (e.g. energy undertakings, road, railway, sea port and airport managers, each level of local governments), as well as property developers and residents associations.
- New rules for accessing technical and telecom infrastructure,4 properties and buildings, and new duties imposed on telecom undertakings and public utilities, including the duty to use and publish, from January 1, 2017 onwards, 'framework offers' for the access to technical infrastructure.5
- Construction works on projects co-financed from public funds will now have to be coordinated, thereby making it possible for the project to be jointly implemented by the telecom undertaking and the investor co-financed from public funds (if the investor refuses, he may be administratively forced to comply).
- A Telecom Information Point will be established. Its responsibility will be to collect and process data on exact location and route of technical and telecom infrastructure.
- For energy and telecom undertakings – wide scope access to technical infrastructure (e.g. cell towers), and limited ability to withhold access6. As a result of the amendments, the refusal must be in writing, must contain a statement of reasons and must be provided within 60 days from the application day.
- For energy undertakings – changed methods for calculating fees for access to infrastructure, which ban the possibility of recovering invested costs, and the new obligation to use and publish framework offers for the access to power infrastructure.
- "Full" disclosure of data on telecom and technical infrastructure in the records kept by the President of the UKE. As a result of the amendments, information on contact data of the telecom provider who is able to provide services in a given location, building addresses or other data identifying the location where a telecom provider may provide services, or information on technologies and infrastructure used, will no longer be classified due to business secrecy requirements.
- Investors7 will be obligated to accommodate request for coordination of construction work. Additionally, such investors will need to publicly announce their investment plans in advance.
As a result, we recommend that you consider:
- Putting in place adequate legal and business procedures in connection with providing access to the existing and planned telecom and technical infrastructure, and reviewing 'access agreements; and preparing 'framework offers' [Polish: oferta ramowa] for the access to technical infrastructure before January 1, 2017.8
- Rdapting your infrastructure passporting systems to report information about existing grids and infrastructure to the Telecom Information Center, and in some cases, to report planned investments
- Review the terms and conditions of your telecom services (unless already reviewed) in terms of sanctions introduced to the Telecom Law for the failure to comply with the obligations set out in the Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down measures concerning open internet access.9
1 Bill no. 323.
2 Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks.
3 A private individual, legal person or an organization without a legal identity granted legal capacity under lex specialis regulations, which acts as a provider of technical infrastructure for the purpose of producing, transmitting or distributing gas, electricity or heat, or illumination of the sites referred to in Art. 18 Sec. 1 Clause 2 of the Energy law of April 10, 1997 (Journal of Laws of 2012, item 1059, as amended); water supplies to the general public, collecting, transmitting, treatment or retrieval of wastewater, heating, water drainage (including linear drainage systems [Polish: ciągi drenażowe]; transport, including railways, roads, sea harbors and airports.
4 Each part of an infrastructure or network (grid) which may be used to mount telecom network or equipment on or in it, which at the same time does not become an active part of the telecom network, e.g. pipelines, sewage system, masts and pylons, ducts, compartments and chambers, wells, racks, buildings and building entrances, aerial systems, towers and poles, except:
- Cables, including optic fiber cables.
- Parts of network used to supply water for human consumption.
- Technological ducts and channels.
5 At the request of the UKE President.
6 E.g. if the proposed telecom services could materially
impair provision of other services via the same technical
7 If the investment project is co-financed from public
8 The effective date for these provisions was deferred by the Lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament.
9 Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) no. 2015/2120 of 25 November 2015.
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.