Deutsche Telekom Tries to Stay Ahead of Regulators

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Deutsche Telekom will open up its VDSL (Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line) network to competitors and start selling a wholesale service, it announced on Monday.

Deutsche Telekom underscores that the introduction of a VDSL wholesale service -- which will offer up to 50M bps (bits per second) -- is voluntarily and without pressure from regulators, said Timotheus Höttges, Deutsche Telekom's board member responsible for sales and service, during a press conference at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The opening up of the VDSL network is a sensible move by Deutsche Telekom, according to Oliver Johnson, CEO at market research company Point Topic. It gives the operator an image of being able of creating a competitive market without regulators getting involved, he said.

Deutsche Telekom wants to charge about €30 (US$38) per line, but prices would come down as more operators get on board. Everyone gets the same price and shares the same risk, according to Höttges.

The operator is looking for its competitors to invest more in building out broadband infrastructure in Germany. By 2014, 75 percent of households should have access to speeds of at least 50M bps. Also, all households should have at least 1M bps by 2010, according to goals set out by the federal government. The investments needed to reach those goals are so large that they have to be shared, according to Deutsche Telekom.

Recently, European regulators and operators have both turned their attention to high-speed broadband access.

At the end of last year Swedish telecommunications regulator PTS (Post och Telestyrelsen) announced it wants incumbent operator TeliaSonera to open up its fiber network to competitors.

In France Numericable, Orange and SFR have signed an agreement setting out the conditions for sharing fiber-optic cables they have installed in buildings, and also sharing fiber access in areas where they are currently deploying or soon plan to deploy their networks.

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