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Belgium’s regulators team up on market power review

Belgium’s TMT regulators, Vlaamse Regulator voor de Media, Conseil supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, Medienrat and BIPT, have published draft decisions on broadband internet and broadcasting, concluding that the retail broadband internet and television broadcasting markets are still characterised by competition shortcomings. “The objectives of the regulatory framework (in particular ensure maximum benefit for users in terms of choice, price and quality) have not been fulfilled.” The regulators find that Proximus, Telenet, Brutélé and Nethys (under the common brand name VOO), and Coditel (operating under the brand name SFR) still have significant market power (SMP) on the relevant wholesale markets. Based on this finding, the regulators propose to extend the obligation to enable other operators to access the networks of these operators to allow “real competition for broadband internet, television and bundled offers to develop”. As far as cable operators are concerned, a new measure compels them to provide access to EuroPacketCable (a protocol used to provide cable-based telephony services). As regards Proximus, a paper submitted for consultation investigates whether and to what extent the access obligations previously applicable to the copper network should be extended or not to the new fibre network. Regarding tariffs, the draft decision aims to keep a cost orientation obligation for access to the copper network, but to apply ‘fair’ prices (with a margin above the costs) for access to the fibre network and to the cable networks, to stimulate investments in the best performing infrastructures. The regulators also propose to regulate at the geographical level depending on the circumstances. Regulation should be reduced in areas where at least three sufficiently independent next-generation access operators (i.e. offering speeds of 30 Mbps and above) would be in competition. Market players can comment on these draft decisions until 15 September. The decisions will then be submitted to the Belgian competition authority and to the European Commission. Read more

  • Tuesday, 18 July 2017

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