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ACM: consumers are allowed to choose their own modems

Consumers are allowed to connect their own modems, routers or set-top boxes to the networks of their telecom operators. This has been laid down in the draft policy rule regarding network termination points, which the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published today. With this policy rule, ACM offers more certainty to telecom operators and consumers about what part of the network is owned by the telecom operator, and over which part consumers have control, allowing them to choose a product that best fits their situation. In that way, ACM ensures that consumers have more choice on the telecom market. 

If consumers are able to choose terminal equipment themselves, it will stimulate providers of modems, routers and set-top boxes to make good offers in terms of price and/or functionalities. The consumers’ freedom of choice will ensure that competition and innovation on the market of these devices will be stimulated. 

More and more consumers use devices that are interconnected (Internet of Things). Some users would like to connect their own modems in order to have more control over their personal information. In addition, free choice of modems will lower the barrier for consumers to switch telecom operators, because they will be able to connect their own terminal equipment to their new operator’s network.

What does free choice of modems mean in practice?

The telecom operator owns the ‘fixed network termination point,’ which is located at the end of the cable that the operator has installed into the consumer’s home. Consumers are able to connect their own modems, routers or set-top boxes to that point.

Consumers are allowed to connect their own modems, but they can also continue to use the telecom operator’s modem. Telecom operators are still allowed to supply their own modems to consumers. However, if a consumer wishes to connect their own modem, they will have to allow that. They still have the ability to take action if the consumer’s personal equipment causes any interruptions or disruptions.

Submitting your opinions

ACM’s policy rule is based on a directive of BEREC, which is the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. ACM offers interested parties the opportunity to submit their opinions about the policy rule. These opinions, if any, will be taken into consideration when finalizing the policy rule. Opinions can be submitted no later than Friday, September 4, 2020, to netwerkaansluitpunt@acm.nl  or by regular mail to:

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)
Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department (TVP)
P.O. Box 16326
2500 BH The Hague
The Netherlands

See also

08-07-2020 Policy rule regarding free choice of modems and other terminal equipment (in Dutch)