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ACM granted additional powers to ensure Dutch telecom market will work better for people and businesses

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has welcomed the new provisions in the Dutch Telecommunications Act, granting ACM more powers to protect competition in the fixed-telecommunications market. The Dutch House of Representatives today passed an amendment, which will expand ACM’s toolkit.

Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: ‘We are living in extraordinary times, and especially times like these show us how important fixed networks are in making sure that people stay connected, are able to continue working, studying, and relaxing. This new legislation will offer ACM more options to grant telecom providers without their own networks access to a fixed network, if such is needed for well-functioning markets. We are glad that the Dutch House of Representatives has underscored the importance thereof.’

The importance of access

ACM foresees anticompetitive risks in the fixed telecom market, if telecom providers without networks of their own are unable to gain access to the networks of Dutch telecom operator KPN and Dutch cable company VodafoneZiggo against reasonable conditions. That is why ACM keeps a close watch on market developments, and explores the various options available in the Dutch Telecommunications Act and the Dutch Competition Act, so that it is able to step in if services for consumers and businesses deteriorate because of a lack of competition.

With this new instrument, ACM will, in the future, have an additional power to ensure that companies that wish to become active on the Dutch telecom market will be given access to a fixed telecom network. ACM sees the proposed expansion of its powers in this area as a positive development, which will help towards well-functioning markets, lower prices, more innovation, and better services for people and businesses.

What are the current rules on access?

As a result of the ruling handed down by the Dutch Trade Industry and Appeals Tribunal (CBb) in the case about ACM’s market analysis decision on Wholesale Fixed Access, ACM’s decision on the right to access to both KPN’s networks and to VodafoneZiggo’s network has been reversed. That means that providers without networks of their own do not automatically have a right to access to those networks against reasonable conditions. Following the CBb’s ruling, KPN continued its access offer, but did not continue the additional offer on the basis of the annulled decision. VodafoneZiggo withdrew its access offer. ACM will assess whether the positions of providers without networks of their own will be sufficiently safeguarded following these moves. In a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives, Mona Keijzer, the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, had already written that the CBb’s ruling underscored the importance of creating as quickly as possible additional options for ACM to regulate Dutch telecom networks.

Submit your indications

If market participants in the telecom market experience any problems as a result of which they are unable to make a competitive offer to consumers or businesses, they can contact ACM. ACM keeps a close watch on market developments, and will step in if necessary.