The European Commission has opened an investigation over the Dutch telecoms regulator's (The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets - ACM) proposed analysis of the wholesale market for local access. ACM proposes to regulate local access to KPN's (the Netherlands' incumbent operator) copper and fibre networks in order to tackle the competition problems identified. The Commission has serious doubts at this stage as to whether this market has been defined and analysed in accordance with the EU telecom rules and with competition law principles.
The wholesale local access market consists of the access to the local loop that alternative operators can use to provide services such as broadband internet to consumers and business users, as well as telephony services.
The Commission has concerns about the analysis of competition on the retail market for consumer internet access, and about the related question whether KPN can continue to benefit from its strong position on the relevant wholesale market when confronted by the cable operator UPC/Ziggo, whose network also serves such consumers throughout almost the entire country. The Commission has therefore started a Phase II investigation under Article 7 of the Framework Directive in order to deepen the assessment.
The Commission now has two months to discuss the case with ACM, in close cooperation with the body of European regulators (BEREC), in order to ensure compliance with EU law. The Commission may, at the end of the investigation period, either lift its reservations or demand that ACM withdraws the proposed measure.