Price probe mars Alca-Lu fiber win

Alcatel-Lucent picked a bad day to reveal it is the lead supplier in a major fiber deployment by China Unicom.

As the infrastructure firm was revealing it will supply fiber-optic cable to 29 Chinese provinces for consumer broadband services, the operator was defending itself against an investigation into monopolistic practices by its bandwidth leasing business.

Rajeev Singh-Molares, Alcatel-Lucent’s Asia Pacific president, says the network is “another major milestone in the rapid expansion of broadband in China.” It will offer speeds up to 100Mbps to meet growing demand for interactive TV, video-on-demand, gaming, and social networking services.

However, as Alca-Lu was talking of the future of Chinese broadband, Unicom revealed its internet service arm, China United Network Communications, has been ordered to hand over details of its pricing, volume, and turnover to the National Development and Reform Commission, which develops financial and social strategy for the government.

A stock market statement claims the Web business operates within the terms of its license.

Local press reports reveal rival China Telecom is also being investigated, with both firms accused of charging rivals more for bandwidth access. The operator issued a similar statement, but advised investors “to exercise caution in dealing in the securities of the Company.”