The Dutch Consumer & Market Authority (ACM) has ruled this regulation will take effect on 1 October 2018 following the market analysis Wholesale Fixed Access.
Henk Don, board member of ACM: “We see that these two parties are jointly dominant in the market. This would enable them to use this position to, for example, increase prices for consumers or adjust conditions to their advantage in tacit coordination. Because both KPN and VodafoneZiggo have these possibilities, the ACM believes it is fair to open up both parties’ networks to competition. In this way, providers without their own network can still offer their services to consumers and businesses. In this way, there remains sufficient competition on the retail markets with more choice and good rates.”
In the past, alternative providers without their own fixed network only had access to KPN’s network. They can now also offer internet, television and fixed telephone services via VodafoneZiggo’s fixed cable network. For KPN, the new rules are lighter than before. For example, KPN may phase out access to copper in areas with fibre optics. Of course, the ACM does impose conditions on this, to ensure that other providers who use KPN’s network can continue to compete effectively.
In its market analysis, ACM concludes that on the fixed network market, without regulation, KPN and VodafoneZiggo jointly have significant market power. KPN and VodafoneZiggo have an equivalent position in the telecommunications market, each with its own fixed and mobile network. Their market power enables them to foreclose alternative suppliers and then to charge excessive retail prices to end-users. In order to ensure sufficient competition in the market, the ACM has decided to regulate.
Before consumers actually notice the effects of cable regulation, a number of steps in the process are still necessary. First, VodafoneZiggo must draw up a reference offer and propose tariffs for access. There is then room for negotiation with other providers about the tariff and the reference offer. If they have concrete plans to offer services via VodafoneZiggo’s network, VodafoneZiggo must make the network suitable for this purpose. This is expected to be completed in the course of next year.
The market analysis decision was made according to a careful procedure. At the end of February 2018, interested parties could submit their views on a draft version of the market analysis. A total of eighteen market parties made use of this option. The ACM incorporated the views of market parties and its response to them into the decision. On a number of points, this led to the decision being amended. At the end of July, the ACM submitted the draft decision on market analysis, including the views of market parties, to the European Commission. At the end of August, the Commission accepted the decision with a number of comments.