European Commission reportedly plans to open fiber optics networks of former monopolists
Former telecommunications monopolists such as Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom can expect strict regulation on the expansion of fast Internet.
Whereas in the UK, OfCom feels that it's too soon for fibre-optic unbundling, according to an unpublished copy of the European Commission's draft document on the subject provided to the Financial Times Germany, larger Continental telcos will be forced to open up their new fibre optics networks to competitors, just as they were with the copper cables they once took over from state control. European commissioners Viviane Reding and Neelie Kroes are the principal authors of the draft.
The FT Deutschland (FTD) says that in return for their considerable investments in high-speed networks, the Commission proposes that the firms be able to demand payment of a risk premium from competitors. In this manner, the Commission plans to ensure equal incentives for the expansion of fast Internet all over Europe.
National authorities in Germany and elsewhere have reportedly already called such proposals too restrictive. "The detailed recommendations limit the discretion of national regulators in selecting appropriate means; indeed, they're hardly left any discretion at all", the FTD says, quoting an unofficial position taken by the European Regulators Group (ERG), the umbrella organisation for a national regulators. "The intervention proposed in this draft would detrimentally affect expansion in rural areas."
As Matthias Kurth, president of Germany's Network Agency told Heise Online Germany in an interview in July, incentives for the expansion of networks is a crucial issue. Back then, he emphasized that regulations must not hamper infrastructure competition. The FTD says that the European Parliament's industry committee wants to make former monopolists and new market players more flexible so that they can share investment risks, for instance in rural areas where the expansion of competing networks would not be profitable.