The Dutch telecoms regulator OPTA says that incumbent fixed line operator KPN and its rivals are likely to agree on the rollout of the former’s next generation network (NGN) by the 15 July deadline, says Reuters. The Netherlands’ alternative operators have been forced to review their business models following a decision by the former monopoly to extend fibre-optic provisioning all the way to street cabinets, essentially rendering redundant most of its 1,400 local exchanges where its competitors have installed colocation equipment. KPN’s network upgrade is expected to cost around USD1.2 billion and will deliver faster broadband access to business and residential users. Although rivals such as Tele2, Telecom Italia, BBned and Orange Nederlands could also be entitled to extend their networks to street cabinets, a study conducted on behalf of OPTA found the economic reasoning of such a plan only valid in certain cases. Critics point out however, that the NGN upgrade could result in a situation where KPN’s rivals resort merely to reselling the incumbent’s capacity, resulting in an unhealthy de facto duopoly between KPN and the country’s cablecos, which also have networks running to the nation’s homes. If negotiations between KPN and its rivals break down, OPTA intends to forge ahead with work on new regulations and aims to publish a draft decision by 15 October 2007. If a deal is subsequently agreed, the watchdog expects to incorporate it into the new regulation, which will then likely be handed down by the end of the year, says Reuters.
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