The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) yesterday issued a draft decision on Wholesale Fixed Access, proposing that for the first time alternative operators should be granted access to VodafoneZiggo’s cable network to offer broadband internet, television and fixed telephony services. Currently, KPN is the sole operator mandated to offer such wholesale access (on both its copper and fibre-optic access networks, which ACM will continue regulating).
The merger of cableco Ziggo and cellco Vodafone Netherlands to form quad-play operator VodafoneZiggo (completed in December 2016) prompted ACM to re-examine the state of market competition and subsequently propose regulated access to the country’s largest cable network, having established that KPN and VodafoneZiggo had ‘collective’ Significant Market Power (SMP) in the fixed network segment. ACM’s market analysis concluded that without regulation, KPN and VodafoneZiggo can ‘foreclose alternative providers collectively, and charge end users high retail prices’.
Operators have six weeks to submit their opinions on ACM’s market analysis. The regulator will subsequently submit a revised draft decision to the European Commission, aiming for the new rules to enter force in ‘summer 2018’.