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Telekom Will Have to Open Fibre-Optic Network to Competition

Ljubljana, 02 February (STA) - Telekom Slovenije, the majority state-owned telecoms incumbent, will have to allow other operators to lease its fibre-optic network in accordance with a forthcoming decision by the Agency for Post and Telecommunications (APEK).

"The proposed regulation remains intact in principle: the fibre-optic local loop will be unbundled," APEK acting director Miha Kriselj told the STA on Tuesday after the regulator replied to remarks by Telekom to its draft new regulation.

APEK conducts biennial analyses of key segments of the telecommunications market in order to tweak regulations with a view to promoting competition. This typically involves a heavier regulatory burden for operators with significant market power, of which Telekom is one.

Unbundling of the fibre-optic local loop will be mandated in the decisions on the segments wholesale network infrastructure access and wholesale broadband access, which will be released in March.

The news is bound to anger Telekom Slovenije, which had warned when the draft decisions were released late last year that the new regulatory framework would cost it EUR 16m in lost revenue a year and could jeopardise further expansion of the fibre-optic network in rural areas.

Kriselj said the local loop was being unbundled not to hamper investment but to improve utilisation of existing networks. "Our analysis of fibre-optic network has shown that only 20% of capacity is utilised," he said.

Telekom has argued that while it may be the biggest fixed-line operator overall, rival T-2 has a more expansive fibre-optic network, plus Telekom faces fierce competition in urban areas from wireless providers.

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