Deutsche Telekom remains confident that it alone will control access to its planned ultra-fast fibre-optic network, despite an agreement between German authorities and the European Commission to regulate parts of the new very high bit rate digital subscriber lines (VDSL) as they are built.
The German telecoms regulator on Wednesday defused a row with Brussels by agreeing to regulate markets on new VDSL-lines if services were similar to those on existing networks. But potential markets like “triple play” services for TV, internet and web-telephones would stay exempt for now.
While the Commission was claiming a victory in the name of competition, Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecoms operator, maintained the arrangement would not affect its plans for a €3bn ($3.6bn) VDSL investment in 50 cities staying out of regulation for a few years.
“The regulator accepts it should regulate the new network and we can make sure the forces of competition work,” a spokesman for Viviane Reding, European telecoms commissioner, said.
The German regulator had wanted to exempt all services piped over VDSL-lines.
However, DT said the speed of the network would enable DT to offer new services like triple-play, which would be exempt from regulation until a market and competition forms. “That’s why DT remains confident the fibre-optic project won’t be regulated.”
To spur investment, the German government has promised to change legislation to give Deutsche Telekom sole control over its planned network for two to three years.
This has angered the Commission as it fears other countries will follow suit.
Germany’s telecoms regulator claims the disagreement with Ms Reding has little to do with the agreement between DT and Berlin.