DT to speed up unbundling for competitors

11 Jan 2008

Reuters reports that German incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT) is to speed up efforts to reduce a backlog on DSL line access for competitors who rent connections into private homes and businesses from it. ‘We will be up to 330,000 switch orders per month by 1 April at the latest,’ said Timotheus Hoettges, responsible for fixed-line and DSL business on DT’s board. Rivals such as Telefonica and Vodafone had filed complaints at the end of 2007 with the Federal Network Agency (FNA) about DT’s delaying tactics. They argued it took weeks instead of days for the incumbent to enable DSL access, undercutting their competitiveness. The FNA has ordered DT to make up to a million connections available a quarter. The company will have to pay a penalty of EUR4 (USD5.88) per day for each line of access it fails to provide. In return competitors will have to compensate DT if they request connections they do not end up using. Telefonica’s O2 Germany, Vodafone’s German unit Arcor and Telecom Italia’s Hansenet are among those that offer their customers DSL broadband connections by leasing DT’s last mile.

Hoettges said strong growth in DSL last year had resulted in the backlog as competitors demanded more internet access than they had first requested. ‘We have switched on 26% more connections than planned, but some carriers had demanded 100% to 150% more than…they originally requested,’ he said, adding that the former state monopoly had hired external companies to help reduce the backlog.