Beware of broadband monopoly, small TELCOs warn

Alternative TELCOs have called on the European Commission to lower wholesale charges and have warned that unless the “copper gravy train” is put to an end, broadband services will revert to the monopolies of before.

Under what they called “discriminatory conduct” from the bigger firms, the European Competitive Telecommunication Association (ECTA) asserted that the larger providers are ripping smaller TELCOs off for their legacy copper infrastructure.

According to ECTA, this in turn is making smaller businesses unsustainable and, in many cases, forcing them to temporarily abandon plans for fibre investment.

ECTA, who represents over 100 challenger telecoms operators across Europe, further stated that incumbent providers were not installing fibre all the way to households, but rather were installing partial network upgrades which “has the potential to undermine competition by limiting entrants’ ability to unbundle the access network of the dominant firm”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these views are not shared by the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO), whose view remains that if the larger companies reduced copper prices, there won’t be as much fibre investment.

In a statement Tom Ruhan, ECTA chairman, said: “It is time for a wake-up call. If current trends continue, we may be back to monopolies and duopolies for broadband services in 5 years’ time.

“This will not deliver more investment in broadband and will have a negative impact on the services and prices consumers receive,” he added.

ECTA public affairs boss Federico Poggi is quoted by ZDNet as claiming France and the UK are the only countries which stood out because smaller broadband firms actually made money, which correlates with this article claiming France’s broadband service is “amazing”.

Do you agree with ECTA’s worries about the wholesale prices? How do you think this disagreement will end?



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