The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ruled that incumbent telco KPN must continue to share its networks with rival operators for at least the next three years. The competition watchdog says the decision will promote investment in copper and fibre infrastructure, while also providing the country’s telcos with long-term certainty. The ACM says it will facilitate discussions between KPN and rival firms such as Vodafone and Tele2. The decision comes into effect on 1 January 2016. KPN had argued against further regulation as it said the broadband market in the Netherlands was sufficiently competitive.
The ACM revised its previous draft ruling to take into account criticism from the European Commission (EC), which called for further explanation of the role of cable TV networks in the market. The regulator says it is not practical for the main cable TV and broadband operator in the Netherlands, UPC/Ziggo, to open its network on a wholesale basis ‘due to technical reasons’, while it also adds that the UPC infrastructure covers far fewer business premises than that of KPN as cable TV networks tend to target home users and are therefore not rolled out in areas such as business parks.
Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, commented: ‘This decision is good news for consumers: they will continue to have different providers to choose from. Furthermore, ACM’s regulation of the market will keep prices for telecom services competitive. Consumers and businesses will save at least EUR250 million per year on their telecommunication costs.’