BNA Tries to Persuade EU for Using Vector Technology

Germany’s telecoms regulator, BNA (Bundes Netz Agentur) will try to persuade the European Commission to get approval for the Deutsche Telekom’s plans to use its existing last-mile copper infrastructures to deliver broadband to the homes and businesses. The use of existing copper wires seems to be attractive for Deutsche Telekom (DT) to connect its subscribers to its high-speed fiber optic broadband network.

DT’s competitors are n Germany including Vodafone, which has raised concerns over DT’s plans to utilize existing copper wires. If optical fibers are laid to the homes, multiple service providers can utilize a common single fiber to deliver their services. DT knows that this will harm their business interests. Vodafone had complained that DT’s plans would leave them dependent on the Deutsche Telekom network and unable to tailor how they attracted customers.

DT is planning to use fiber and copper technology, known as “vectoring”, which only works when applied to a whole bundle of copper cables, meaning that individual lines cannot be unbundled physically to give access to alternative operators. DT simply doesn’t want to give access for other competitors to its network infrastructure.

The regulator BNS said that the rivals would get ‘virtual’ access to the ‘local loop’ copper network, but the European Commission said this arrangement would deny the degree of control necessary to differentiate their retail offers from those of Deutsche Telekom.

With Deutsche Telekom owning the network and rivals paying to get access to it, competitors would struggle to offer choices on price or quality. The BNA said it had withdrawn its proposal and would submit a new one early next week.

The European Commission encourages fair competition in telecom markets in its member countries. The commission said that it was concerned that the proposal would not be in line with EU telecoms rules, which encourage competition on telecoms markets, technological development and ultimately a high quality of services for consumers. European Commission do not want to encourage the monopoly of any one operator.

Former national network monopolies such as Deutsche Telekom and Britain’s BT find the application of new copper-based technology is a far cheaper and quicker way to get more people hooked up to high-speed broadband than aiming to run new fiber into every building. But rival telecom operators say that an independent fiber optic network would give all players equal chances. They have warned that initiatives such as vectoring could slow the roll-out of much faster, but also more expensive, fiber optic connections. In Germany alone, the cost of such a network is estimated at up to 80 billion euros (£63.23 billion).

While addressing the shareholders, DT’s Chief Executive Tim Hoettges told that its competitors should stop moaning and start investing in their own fiber optic networks rather than looking to utilize DT’s networks.

BNA had approved Deutsche Telekom’s plan in 2015 to use vectoring technology to double the bandwidth of the existing copper lines running from a fiber-connected central distribution point to give download speeds of up to 100 Mbps instead of running optical fiber all the way into homes and offices.


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