BRUSSELS – European Union regulators will delay proposals to scale back the powers of former phone monopolies in an effort to prevent Germany from shaping the rules to favor Deutsche Telekom, an EU official said Monday.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will push back the plans from January until July 2007 or later – after Germany finishes its turn at the six-month EU presidency, said the official, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to disclose the information.
Wolfgang Heer, spokesman for VATM, an industry group representing 50 smaller German phone companies, said that the delay was “a clear threat to the German government” that the EU would oppose lenient rules for Deutsche Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom is threatening to halt investment in a €3 billion, or $3.8 billion, broadband network if regulators force it to share the infrastructure with smaller rivals like United Internet and Freenet.de, which did not fund the original investment.
The German Parliament is debating a bill to ease the regulatory burden on Deutsche Telekom, in line with an agreement last year between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition partners.
In a preview of the new proposals, the commission said in June that price controls were needed for markets like broadband where “competition is not yet effective” and took a “clear stance” against temporary monopolies for big phone companies.
Fuente: International Herald Tribune