The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wishes to gain more insight into how telecom providers and investors determine where to roll out fiber-optic, and into the kinds of problems they face in that process. That is why ACM has launched an exploratory market study into the roll-out of fiber-optic in the Netherlands.
Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: ‘In the Netherlands, many homes are still without a fiber-optic connection. Fortunately, we are seeing that interest in the roll-out of fiber-optic is on the rise. That is a great development, which can lead to better services, and more competition. At the same time, however, we are also receiving indications about problems that telecom companies, investors and municipalities face during that roll-out of fiber-optic. To ACM, it would be undesirable if these problems resulted in investments in fiber-optic falling through, or if competition in this market were disrupted. That is why we want to take stock of the current state of play in the market.’
ACM has received indications from several market participants that their business cases were getting worse because multiple firms wanted to roll out in the same geographical area. As a result, several projects were cancelled and/or fiber-optic was only rolled out in some parts of those areas. In order to avoid such situations, market participants that wish to roll out fiber-optic apparently demand exclusivity more and more often. They do so, on the one hand, towards municipalities to prevent multiple firms from rolling out in the same municipality, and, on the other hand, towards telecom-service providers to make sure that they will not use the networks of competitors. And in that context, questions are sometimes raised about the stakes that some municipalities have in these providers. ACM will explore the effects of these developments on the rest of the fiber-optic roll-out, and on competition in the market. ACM expects to publish the findings of this market study after the summer. Based on those results, it will be decided whether any follow-up actions are needed.
Sitting down with stakeholders
In order to take stock of the roll-out of fiber-optic in the Netherlands and of the problems that may play a role in that process, ACM will sit down over the next few months with telecom companies, investors and municipalities that, in some way, are involved in the fiber-optic roll-out. Do you have any information about this subject, and would you like to help us in this market study? Please contact us by sending an email to FttH@acm.nl.