The German regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, has said that incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT) must give competitors access to its new VDSL network. InfoWorld reports that the regulator published proposals yesterday to allow telecoms operators to build part of their local loop with fibre instead of copper, or to lease fibre from DT. A spokesman for the regulator said, ‘We want more competition.’ Former monopoly DT has started providing IP services such as telephony, television and broadband to customers in several German cities over its VDSL network, and had asked the regulator to exempt the new infrastructure from a requirement to lease it to competitors, claiming that without the exclusive right to use the network, it cannot fund the necessary investment. The infrastructure comes in two parts; a fibre-optic link from a central exchange to a local node near the customer’s premises; and a VDSL modem at either end of the copper connection between the node and the customer’s premises. For now the regulator is focussing on the provision of the fibre-optic link – it intends to give operators the right to lay their own fibre in DT’s cable ducts, or where this is not possible, to lease DT’s fibre. Competitors would still have to provide the VDSL modem at the local node and the customer’s premises. A public consultation on the proposals will now run for a month, after which the regulator will issue revised regulations ‘by the end of the year’. This apparent u-turn by the regulator comes in the wake of the European Commission threatening Berlin with court action to force DT to open its VDSL network to competitors.
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