Dominant Dutch telco KPN and multiplay operator VodafoneZiggo must both open up their fixed network to other providers. This is what the Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM) – the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets says in the market analysis decision Wholesale Fixed Access, with the regulation taking effect on October 1st 2018.
“We see that these two parties are collectively dominant on the market,” stated Henk Don, board member ACM. “This would enable them to use that position to increase prices for consumers in tacit coordination, or to adjust conditions to their advantage. Because both KPN and VodafoneZiggo have these options, ACM considers it fair to open up the network of both parties to competition. In this way, providers without their own network can still offer their services to consumers and businesses. This means there is sufficient competition in the retail markets with more choice and good rates.”
Previously, alternative providers without their own fixed network only had access to the KPN network. They can now also offer Internet, television and fixed telephone services via the fixed cable network of VodafoneZiggo. For KPN, the new rules are lighter than before. For example, KPN may phase out access to copper in areas with fibre optics. Naturally, the ACM does set conditions for this to ensure that other providers who use KPN’s network can continue to compete effectively.
In its market analysis, the ACM establishes that KPN and VodafoneZiggo jointly have significant market power in the fixed network market. KPN and VodafoneZiggo have an equal position on the telecom market, each with its own fixed and mobile networks. Their market power allows them to ban alternative suppliers from the market and then to use excessive retail prices for end-users. In order to ensure sufficient competition on the market, the ACM has decided to regulate.
Before consumers actually notice the effects of cable regulation, a number of steps are still needed in the process. First of all, VodafoneZiggo must draw up a reference offer and propose rates for access. Then there is room for negotiation about the tariff and the reference offer with other providers. If they have concrete plans to offer services via the VodafoneZiggo network, VodafoneZiggo must make the network suitable for this. It is expected that this will be completed in the course of next year.
The market analysis decision was drawn up according to a careful procedure. At the end of February 2018, stakeholders could submit a view on a draft version of the market analysis. In total, eighteen market parties made use of this option. The ACM has incorporated the views of market parties and its reaction to this in the decision. On a number of points this has led to the amendment of the decision. At the end of July 2018, the ACM submitted the draft market analysis decision including the views of market parties to the European Commission. At the end of August the Commission agreed with the decision with a few comments.