KPN in hot water over internet telephony complaints

6 Mar 2007

Dutch incumbent fixed line operator KPN faces judicial action if it fails to address the high number of complaints being made against its internet telephony service, writes AFX News Limited. The telco has informed the Dutch consumer association Consumentenbond that it will address all the complaints it has received by Friday, but the watchdog has warned that it will initiate legal proceedings if KPN fails to settle the matter swiftly. A spokesman for the operator said it was ‘working hard’ to resolve the complaints, but is being pushed by the Consumentenbond, which represents consumers’ interests in the matter. KPN connected 500,000 homes with VoIP in the second half of 2006, but more than 5% have registered complaints about the service, a figure which the Consumentenbond considers ‘far too high’.

In a separate story, KPN learned today that the telecoms regulator OPTA has reached the preliminary conclusion that the incumbent will not be forced to hive off its network into a separate business. According to Telecompaper, the regulator, citing evidence from Nera which carried out the review, found that while such a separation could theoretically prevent anti-competitive practices, it could also result in a situation where the incumbent operator and rivals postpone investments in next-generation network technologies. In addition, OPTA found that the healthy state of the cable infrastructure market made it unnecessary to action a split, as there was competition at a national level. OPTA also concluded that it currently does not have the regulatory power to force a separation on KPN and said it had decided, for the time being at least, to leave it up to KPN and alternative operators to negotiate on network access for LLU once KPN starts its new network.

Netherlands, KPN