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ACM submits decision on deregulating high-quality wholesale access (HWT) to the European Commission

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) submitted to the European Commission its planned decision to abolish the regulation of the high-quality business telecom services that are provided over the copper network of Dutch telecom operator KPN. This is the final step in the process of the market analysis of high-quality wholesale access (HWT), which comes after the consultation among market participants. On the basis of this consultation, ACM argues, the regulatory regime regarding the market for high-quality wholesale access can indeed be abolished.

On the HWT market, telecom operators offer services of high quality and very high reliability, which primarily cater to business end-users. This market does not cover any services for private end-users. In order to avoid any confusion, ACM notes that high-quality wholesale access (HWT) concerns a different market than that of the so-called local access, for which ACM is conducting a separate market analysis.

Consultation

On November 19, 2020, ACM started the national consultation and presented market participants with the draft decision on deregulating the HWT market. The opinions that were submitted confirmed the impression that, in the HWT market, no market participants exist anymore that have significant market power (which means: being able to behave independently of their competitors or buyers, for example by raising tariffs or refusing access). Following a more in-depth assessment, ACM did adjust its line of reasoning in the decision, but this has not led to any changes to the conclusion that the existing regulatory regime on the HWT market can be abolished.

The European Commission has a month to comment on the decision, after which ACM will finalize the decision.

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