Germany faces court over Deutsche Telekom monopoly

EU regulators took legal action against Germany for Berlin's refusal to change a law shielding Deutsche Telekom's high-speed Internet network from rivals, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the European Court of Justice will now have to decide if Germany can keep a law giving Deutsche Telekom a de facto monopoly on a glass-fiber DSL Internet network it built to allow it recoup the cost without of setting up an infrastructure with sharing it with others.

The EU executive's arm said this departure from normal regulation breaks Europe-wide telecom rules giving new providers the right to use telephone and Internet networks, the report said.

'The Commission has repeatedly warned Germany that its new telecoms law violates EU telecom rules but without success,' EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding, was quoted by the report as saying.

Despite last-ditch negotiations, the EU said the German government was unwilling to change the law the way the EU wanted and continued to defend its position, the report said.

Deutsche Telekom aims to roll out a high-speed optical fiber network that will transmit data up to 20 times faster than current offerings.

The plan is to provide Germany's 50 largest cities with high-speed broadband lines by 2007.

Berlin had agreed with Deutsche Telekom's argument that it could only make a decent profit on the network if it was exempt from any requirement to offer its lines to rivals.

However, the Commission says Deutsche Telekom's heavy share of the German market already give it a major advantage over other companies, the report said.