This week saw Ingbert Liebing, chief of the VKU, urging Klaus Müller, head of the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to implement bold measures to ensure transparency from Deutsche Telekom in rolling out fibre expansion plans in the forthcoming 12 months.
The VKU asserts that the unclear expansion plans of Deutsche Telekom are impacting detrimentally the national FTTH deployment, leaving competing operators in the dark about viable investment zones. Liebing noted that, “Strategic overbuilding, as practiced by Telekom, is slowing down the nationwide expansion of fibre optic networks throughout Germany.”
According to VKU, there has been an impact on 62% of its member organizations due to overbuilding or the threat thereof. Some network expansions by other operators have been scrapped in response to Deutsche Telekom’s overbuild schemes. The problem is of such magnitude, that nearly 300 complaints have been lodged with BNetzA about overbuilding since the inception of scrutiny in early July.
However, Deutsche Telekom counterargues that this is merely fair competition within the boundaries of the current regulations in place, and they, too, face considerable competition in the fibre market.
A BNetzA commissioned WIK report on this issue earlier in the month suggested that while deployment of multiple adjoining networks could be tenable in some urban regions, overbuilding in suburban and rural regions could provoke costlier and delayed deployments.
The situation warranted an urgent response, according to Jürgen Grützner, MD of the Association of Providers of Telecommunications and Value-Added Services (VATM), who stated, “In order to expand a comprehensive fiber optic network and achieve the federal government’s expansion goals, clear regulatory steps are now urgently needed to counter the strategic structure of the dominant company.”