Georgia’s two largest internet service providers (ISPs), SilkNet and Caucasus Online, are seeking regulatory approval for the merger of their businesses, with a decision from the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) expected within three months. The watchdog says it has launched an investigation to assess the potential impact that the proposed transaction would have on both the retail and wholesale internet access markets. In an official statement on its website, Caucasus Online said: ‘Like any other progressive and dynamically growing company, Caucasus Online is constantly looking at and discussing opportunities to strengthen and expand its business. At this stage, the company and its partners intend to negotiate with international financial institutions, as well as local and international telecommunications operators’. The firm also revealed that a valid agreement has not yet been concluded with SilkNet, which is part of the Silk Road Group conglomerate.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, market leader SilkNet had a 44.1% share of the Georgian fixed broadband sector at the end of March 2015, while second-placed Caucasus Online had 30.8% of the market; the next largest player was Akhali Kselebi (including Akhteli) with a 10.8% share of the country’s fixed broadband users.