Belgacom says it will not comply with the Belgian telecoms regulator’s decision that it must open its high speed VDSL broadband network to competitors, arguing that the ruling is based on an ‘erroneous assessment of the balance of powers’ on the Belgian broadband market. According to Belgacom, the BIPT failed to carry out a proper analysis of the broadband markets, ‘particularly in Flanders where [Flemish cable company] Telenet is manifestly the dominating operator’. ‘The BIPT is now stepping up the regulatory pressure that is already burdening Belgacom, making its unfair treatment favouring Telenet even more blatant’, Belgacom said in a statement.
Belgacom has invested ‘several hundred million euros’ in a new VDSL network, and refuses to open up its network to other operators who, the group says, did not take on any industrial risks themselves. The group points out that the BIPT’s plans bypass cable TV operators, despite their 50% market share of high-speed connections in Flanders. ‘The cable TV operators would be free to develop their offers further, without any restrictions whatsoever’, Belgacom says, adding that it wants cable operators to be subject to the same rules.