EU: More regulation for incumbent carriers

According to a recent report from the European Commission, incumbents have too much control over fixed-line and mobile markets. The report contends that although competition is leading to lower prices and new services for subscribers, more regulation is needed, especially when it comes to the construction of new infrastructure. As in the U.S., disputes are focused on whether or not incumbents have to offer inexpensive access to new infrastructure to level the playing field.

The report particularly chastised the German mobile market where it alleges Deutsche Telekom has too much control. In addition to an allegedly unfair telecom bill that will probably become law in May, the EU is concerned about DT's proposed $3.6 billion fiber network that will service Germany's 50 largest cities with high speed broadband by 2007. Originally, the government agreed with DT's contention that it could only make a decent ROI on the network if it was entirely unregulated and exclusive to the carrier. After the EU stepped in and expressed concern over the arrangement, the government said it would regulate the network (to some extent) and allow rivals access to the lines. The continued regulation is, of course, good news for start-ups.

For more on the EU's report on telecom regulation:
- check out this article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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