Germany says telecom bill complies with EU law

7 Jul 2006

Germany has signalled a tough stance in its battle with the European Commission over its controversial telecommunications regulation act, with the economics ministry insisting the bill complies fully with European law. The comments come after European Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding and German Economics Minister Michael Glos ended talks without resolving conflicting views about telecom regulation. In its present form the bill allows Deutsche Telekom (DT) to keep rivals out of its EUR3 billion broadband network by exempting the high-speed fibre-optic network from requirements to wholesale lines to competitors, at least temporarily.

Berlin and Brussels have been at loggerheads for months about the extent of future regulation of Germany’s telecom market. Reding has fiercely criticized the bill to exempt new markets from regulations as long as competition is not at risk in the long-term. The commission has warned it will initiate infringement proceedings against the country if the bill is not amended. Germany’s upper house is set to discuss the act’s first reading today. According to Germany’s constitution, it is up to lawmakers, and not the government, to make amendments to proposed legislation.