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Germany: EC endorses access to DT VDSL network August 23, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, NGN, Regulation.
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Not unsurprisingly the EC has in a letter sent (21 August) to the German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur (“BNetzA”), required Deutsche Telekom to provide access to its broadband infrastructure through bitstream access “without further delay.” However, the German cabinet has still approved a new telecommunications bill that, in principle, would protect VDSL from regulation. The bill is expected to pass parliament either later this year or early next. The EC, however, has clearly indicated that it will challenge the legislation. The following is an edited version of EC press release.

The EC endorses, with comments, the regulatory measure proposed by BNetzA that will give competitors access to Deutsche Telekom’s broadband infrastructure. The remedy proposed will allow competitors to purchase a high speed access link to the customer premises from Deutsche Telekom with transmission capacity for broadband data in both direction, thus enabling entrants to offer their own, value-added services to end users. The price for such bitstream access needs to be approved in advance by BNetzA. Bitstream access will also be required of Deutsche Telekom to its new VDSL infrastructure. In its letter the EC makes clear that this access obligation should apply when this new infrastructure is in place. The EC notes that at present, there is no indication of a lack of substitution between VDSL-based access and other bistream products, and recalls that a mere upgrade of an existing service (such as an offering with a higher bandwidth) is not considered in itself to lead to new products or services. In any event, a finding of non-substitutability of a particular product or service by BNetzA and consequently an exclusion of a certain product from the remedies imposed would require an amendment of the market analysis and the remedy in force and thus would need to be notified again to the Commission.

The EC also asks the German regulator to ensure that the remedy is applied without further delay, in line with EU law, and that final clarifications are made in the interest of legal certainty on the German broadband market.

The text of the letter sentby the EC the German regulator will be published on 25 August here

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