Brussels ‘sceptical’ whether German Telecoms Act complies with EU law

1 Feb 2006

The European Commission is set to clash with German legislators after it said that Berlin’s draft law to exempt new telecoms services from regulation might break EU legislation and will need to be changed. The German government had earlier presented a draft of its new Telecoms Act, which would allow the Federal Network Agency (the German telecoms regulator) to postpone regulating new services on Deutsche Telekom’s planned VDSL network, if competition was safe ‘in the long-term’. Berlin made the revision after the incumbent threatened to cancel its EUR3 billion investment if it were forced to open up the network to rivals immediately. Brussels and rival German telcos have repeatedly criticised Berlin’s actions, accusing it of favouring DT and endangering the rollout of IP services. Last year Vivane Reding, the EU telecoms commissioner, forced the German regulator to agree to police rivals access to DT’s VDSL lines if services were the same as those offered on existing DSL networks. But Reding ruled that the regulator could postpone regulating the services if they were not available on slower DSL lines, a condition DT has said it would be able to meet.