Modem makers back Dutch proposal to give consumer choice of equipment

Tuesday 13 March 2018 | 15:23 CET | News

Makers of modems and routers have expressed their support for a Dutch government proposal to allow broadband customers to choose their own device, and not rely on the default option provided by ISPs. The German industry group Verbund der Telekommunikations-Endgeraetehersteller (VTKE) called on the government to implement the change quickly, while Lancom Systems said it was ready to develop devices for the Dutch market.

A choice of router is already possible in Germany since August 2016. The Netherlands followed in December 2017, when the minister of economic affairs announced a proposal to open up the network connection point to any compatible modem or router. The ISPs have opposed the move, saying it will cause significant technical problems. 

The VTKE disagreed, saying giving consumers a choice will stimulate competition and increase innovation in the market. End-users will only benefit from better quality products, the group said in a statement. Furthermore, this could avoid some of the current problems with being forced to take the ISP's equipment, such as data protection, privacy, IT security and net neutrality. 

The VTKE underlined that ISPs could still offer their own equipment. The only thing that changes is customers have an extra option to choose their own device. This is in line with EU rules that require consumers to have a choice of equipment. 

The Dutch government is still consulting on the proposal before publishing a policy directive. Individual manufacturers, such as Lancom, have said they are ready to develop products for the Dutch market if the change goes ahead. 

A Lancom spokeswoman told Telecompaper that key to success of the initiative is ensuring the manufacturers have access to the network specifications from ISPs. She noted that since the change in Germany, the ISPs have also developed a wider range of equipment for customers. While most customers are satisfied with the basic gateway provided by the ISP, there is a group who want access to more advanced settings on the device. ISPs have responded by introducing alternatives with more advanced features, allowing them to keep a piece of the market as well as satisfy customers with better service.

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