ACM to unveil new decision on fixed networks before Christmas

Wednesday 15 November 2017 | 10:56 CET | News
Dutch regulator ACM hopes to publish its decision on the regulation of the fixed markets before Christmas. The important decision will succeed the current ULL (Unbundled Access) with obligations for KPN. The new decision may also apply to VodafoneZiggo. 

A spokesperson for the regulator confirmed that the market parties have been informed about this (provisional) planning. What the decision will look like has not been disclosed and will likely only become clear with the draft decision itself. That decision will then go under consultation with the market parties.

The current regulation will apply until the end of next year. Under it, KPN must give access to other providers such as Tele2 Netherlands, T-Mobile Netherlands, Online and a number of smaller providers on DSL and fibre. The regulation is expected to continue under the same form as its predecessors.

However, it is also known that ACM is preparing a cable decision, for VodafoneZiggo and possibly also for other providers. The regulation of cable is a long-cherished wish in The Hague. ACM is looking at the Dutch market and whether there is 'joint dominance', where two suppliers occupying a position with Significant Market Power.

The analysis is complex, considering issues little covered by law in the Netherlands and Europe. In a number of preliminary analysis, ACM has already explained what Joint Dominance (JD) implies and what risks this entails for competition in the market. In order to actually demonstrate JD, the bar has been set quite high.

For the past few years, competition has also grown around premium TV, with live sports, series and films. This means that the broadcasting market could also be included in the analysis. At the moment, no special rules apply for that market.

The regulation for KPN may also be set up in a different way. In this recent period, KPN has developed new technology to provide Virtual Access to a number of customers via Vula. These Vula agreements have been concluded between KPN and customers and so are private agreements. The ACM will also be assessing them. 

The regulator will in addition prepare an analysis for the business market. The market decision on High-quality Wholesale Access (HWT) was withdrawn after criticism from the European Commission. These services for the business market look more like consumer products. As a result, it is no longer so certain that a separate market can be defined, for local loop and FTTO. FTTO is no longer regulated.

It is pretty much a given that market parties will disagree with ACM, no matter what decisions come out.

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