Swisscom resolves fibre contract trouble for Basel

14 Nov 2011

Swiss incumbent Swisscom has announced that it is in a position to begin the development of Basel’s fibre-optic network, after stalling the rollout following intervention from the regulator in September.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Switzerland’s telecoms watchdog, the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) had assessed a series of agreements between Swisscom and local utility providers, and disapproved of certain aspects of the agreement. The ventures set out to share the costs of deploying fibre-optic cables in Swiss cities using a multi-fibre model. The model was given the green light by roundtable discussions chaired by ComCom and involving the industry’s key players. ComCom’s concerns centred on clauses in the deals that allowed Swisscom to influence the pricing structure of its rivals utilising its fibre network by setting price floors for certain services. The affect that this would have on competition was deemed unreasonable, and the regulator threatened to impose sanctions, although it said it would not take steps to prevent the deployment of the fibre networks themselves.

Swisscom has since held ‘intensive negotiations’ with its partner in Basel, Industrielle Werke Basel (IWB), resulting in the amendment or removal of the offending clauses. ComCom has okayed the amended contract, and told Swisscom’s other partners that it is happy with the solution devised for Basel. The agreement with IWB is the first of many that Swisscom will need to alter before work can continue in each city. Should negotiations with any of its partners fail, Swisscom has said that it may have to ‘go it alone’. Basel’s fibre-optic network is due to be completed by 2018 and Swisscom plans to invest CHF100 million (USD111.1 million) in the project.

Switzerland, Federal Communications Commission (ComCom), Swisscom