Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BPN 1159 Dutch telecom watchdog set on opening-up the cable

This morning the Commission of OPTA, the Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority of the Netherlands, released a press statement, which frees the telecom incumbent of the obligation to have the tariffs for the consumer market approved; puts obligations for KPN with regard to the business market; forces the cable operators to allow third parties on their networks.

It is a very radical move in telecom country. However OPTA thinks that the balance between the telecom operators and the cable operators is getting uneven. The cable operators are gaining more subscribers, while in specific sectors in telecom, for example business, no competition is at all.

The press release is a first signal of the OPTA that it is serious with the measures. It announces that the full report will be published by August 5, 2008. However the measures will only become effective after hearing the parties and getting the approval of the European Commission.

It is no the first time that OPTA has announced measures for the telecom and cable sectors. But they have also found that the European Commission does not always agree with the authority. So the measures mentioned in today’s press release can not be taken for granted. But the set of measures to balance the telecom sector and the cable operators’ sector are important, certainly as market shares have grown.

KPN has expressed it satisfaction, as it will b free now to set tariffs without approval. The cable operators have given a mixed reaction. UPC is not happy and puts trust in the European Commission. Other cable operators say that they first want to read the 5 August report.

The press release reads like this:
OPTA: Less regulation for telephony market, broadcast market open
Today the Commission of OPTA, the Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority of the Netherlands, is presenting its new preliminary draft decisions for the markets for fixed telephony, broadband internet access and leased lines. In them OPTA sets out the measures, which it feels are required to promote innovation, investments and competition in consumers’ interests during the regulatory period ahead. Partly thanks to the remedies which OPTA has imposed on KPN in the telephony market to date and the fact that cable telephone services are gaining ground, it is possible to dispense with KPN’s obligations in the consumer market. From now on KPN is exempt from retail obligations, such as those governing minimum and maximum tariffs, and it is allowed to compete freely. However, OPTA has had to impose stricter obligations on KPN in the wholesale telephone market in order to achieve this relaxation. In addition, OPTA has imposed a duty on cable service providers to resell cable connections, otherwise the regulatory authority foresees insufficient competition in the broadcasting markets. In this way consumers will be able to choose from whom they wish to obtain their analogue television bundle in the same way that they are already able to choose between various telephone service providers using KPN’s network. (more)

Blog Posting Number: 1159

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