The German telecommunications regulator said Wednesday that it would likely reach a decision by the end of September on whether Deutsche Telekom should be allowed to bar competitors from its planned €3 billion high-speed broadband network, setting up a potential clash with European Union regulators.
The regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, said that it would likely make a recommendation on the decisive issue – whether the high-speed network, worth $3.8 billion, constitutes a new market that may be exempt from EU anti-trust law – in September, according to Renate Hichert, a spokeswoman.
Deutsche Telekom, which is 31.3 percent owned by the German government, says the network, called VDSL, will create a new market with services like broadcast-quality video. EU regulators say VDSL is just a faster form of DSL and have threatened to challenge any German exemption in court.
The Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, is expected to address the issue when it passes a new version of Germany’s main telecommunications law this year.
According to Hichert, the president of the regulatory agency, Matthias Kurth, said in a report to EU regulators July 21 that the agency would grant an exemption from EU law if it determined that VDSL provided new services.
But Martin Selmayer, a spokesman for Viviane Reding, the European commissioner in charge of Internet issues, said last week that the issue had been effectively decided July 21, with the German regulator agreeing to regulate VDSL and force Deutsche Telekom to grant competitors access to its network. “This means they have agreed to open the network to competitors, which will enhance competition,” Selmayr said.
Fuente: International Herald Tribune, Kevin J. O’Brien