Several municipalities prohibit installing fibre optics in public spaces

Fibre Optic

According to the Competitions and Markets Commission (CNMC), several City Councils are preventing the deployment of fibre optics in public spaces.

The City Councils of Zamudio (Vizcaya), Santander, Torredonjimeno (Jaén) and Turre (Almería) have denied several licence applications to install fibre optics on public roads through negative administrative silence. In Huelva, the Territorial Delegation of the Ministry of Development has not authorised a new fibre channel in the municipality either.

The City Council must justify the decision, in accordance with the General Telecommunications Law and Royal Decree 330/2016. In addition, it must offer the operator other viable alternatives to deploy the network, according to a statement from the CNMC.

The City Council of Loiu (Vizcaya) has denied, through negative administrative silence, the request for a building permit to install fibre optics on the façade of a private property.

According to the General Telecommunications Law, sometimes a licence is not necessary if the operator has an approved deployment plan, the installation is not carried out in a building considered an asset of cultural interest, nor does it affect a protected natural space. However, the existence of this plan does not exempt operators from complying with the applicable urban planning regulations.

The Marbella City Council (Málaga) has rejected an operator’s request to expand fibre networks in the municipality.

According to the CNMC, it violates article 5 of the Ley de Garantía de Unidad de Mercado (Market Unity Guarantee Law, or LGUM). Furthermore, the technical instructions for the deployment of fibre optics in the municipality of Marbella must be adapted to article 49 of the General Telecommunications Law, which provides for more rigorous limits on the exercise of the activity.

The City Council of Meco (Madrid) has denied an operator a construction license to deploy fibre optics on public roads.

The City Council violates the principle of necessity and proportionality provided for in article 5 of the LGUM, since it has not justified its decision on any compelling reason of general interest.

The City Council of Las Cabezas de San Juan (Seville) requires an environmental qualification to be able to install fibre optics on public roads.

Operators must comply with the applicable urban planning regulations, even if they have approved a network deployment plan. Furthermore, the CNMC recognises the possibility of restricting the installation of fibre optics to protect the environment.

However, when requiring an environmental qualification, the City Council should have based itself on the Andalusian Integrated Environmental Quality Management Law, the General Telecommunications Law and the principles of necessity and proportionality of the LGUM.

In addition, operators can request authorisation from the City Council to occupy public domain, in accordance with the LGUM, the Heritage Law of Public Administrations and the Property Regulations of Local Entities.

The CNMC has sent a prior request to the Huesca City Council to annul its Decrees 2746/2023 and 3791/2023, which require excessive documentation to install photovoltaic panels. The City Council does not justify the need or proportionality of this requirement and, therefore, violates article 5 of the LGUM.

On the other hand, the Decrees establish that architects are the only ones who can prepare the certificate of charges. In this case, the CNMC does not consider that this reservation of activity is contrary to the LGUM: it is protected by articles 2.1 a) and 10.2 a) LOE, in accordance with the interpretation of the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court based on its Sentence December 13, 2021.

Córdoba requires an industrial engineering degree in its tender to improve active fire protection at the Parador de Turismo.

The City Council has not justified this reservation on reasons of public order, public safety, public health or environmental protection and, therefore, violates article 5 of the LGUM.

The Consell Insular de Mallorca considers that a mining engineer cannot coordinate the safety and health of the works on the civic promenade between the Forum of Mallorca and Inca. In the tender, the Consell requires a qualification as a road, canal and port engineer, public works technical engineer, or civil engineer.

According to the CNMC, this requirement is justified by the right to protect the safety and health of workers and, therefore, does not violate article 5 of the LGUM.

The Department of Environment and Territory of the Government of the Balearic Islands does not allow an agricultural technical engineer to draft a groundwater collection project.

The Ministry has not justified this denial on the existence of specific risks of public order, public safety, public health or environmental protection and, therefore, violates article 5 of the LGUM.

The City Council of Arroyo de la Encomienda (Valladolid) requires that a company be authorised as an electric energy marketer to install a network of public charging points for electric vehicles.

According to the CNMC, carrying out the recharging activity does not require being registered as a retailer. Therefore, this clause could be unnecessary and disproportionate if it were interpreted as an exclusionary requirement.

The City Council of Pego (Alicante) requires a Declaration of Community Interest to confirm that the installation of an electrostation (electric vehicle charging station) is compatible with urban planning regulations.

The CNMC considers that the Declaration can be equated with a “prior authorisation”, according to article 48.5 of the Electricity Sector Law. Therefore, in this case, a responsible declaration or communication would be sufficient (article 64 of Law 6/2022 of the Valencian Community).