Monday, June 25, 2007

EC Insists on Access Network Competition in Germany

The European Commission has requested the German regulatory authority to ensure adequate competitive access and a level playing field in the transition to high bandwidth Next Generation Networks (NGN).

In May, the Germany regulator (BNetzA) notified the Commission of measures intended to continue the obligations imposed on Deutsche Telekom to grant competitors access to its copper fixed telephone network. Since Deutsche Telekom is upgrading its network by rolling out fibre-based Next Generation Networks, BNetzA's regulatory measures also include remedies to tackle the transition to this.

In a statement, the European Commission argues that while the regulatory measures proposed by BNetzA go in the right direction, they are not yet sufficient. The roll-out of fibre closer to the customers, normally to the street cabinets, enables the provision of high bandwidth services. However, it raises important issues regarding the position of alternative operators who currently benefit from access obligations of Deutsche Telekom. As alternative operators in Germany already have started to roll-out their own infrastructure to local exchanges, or more central levels of the network, these operators now need an economic way of reaching the new access points provided in street cabinets.

Therefore, the Commission has requested the German telecom regulator to guarantee that access to Deutsche Telekom's existing copper network by its competitors remains efficient during the roll-out of Next Generation Networks. BNetzA is therefore asked to ensure that competitors have economically viable access to Deutsche Telekom's ducts and fibre network, if appropriate, in order to deploy, their own networks down to the street cabinets and so that the necessary equipment can be installed in those cabinets.

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