Consumers and businesses are allowed to connect their own modems and/or routers to the networks of their telecom providers. This ability to choose one’s own terminal equipment has been laid down in European regulations. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has been charged with enforcing compliance with these regulations. With the ACM Policy Rule regarding Enforcement of the Decision on Terminal Equipment, ACM wishes to offer clarity surrounding its interpretation of the rules. In that way, ACM provides certainty to telecom operators and consumers about what part of the network is owned by the telecom operator, and over what part consumers have control. In addition, ACM indicates what information the network owners must publish so that the appropriate terminal equipment can be introduced on the market, and that consumers are actually able to use them.
Some users prefer connecting their own modems/routers in order have control over their personal information and over the data traffic of other terminal equipment such as smart devices. The consumers’ free choice of modems ensures that competition and innovation on the market for such devices are stimulated. The ability to choose one’s own modems/routers helps lower switching barriers for consumers, because, in many cases, they will be able to use their own modems with their new operators. Consumers are able to choose their own modems, but they can also decide to continue using the provider’s modem. Telecom providers are obviously allowed to intervene in the case of network disruptions as a result of faulty equipment.
When drawing up this policy rule, ACM looked into the possible consequences on, among other aspects, network quality and security issues. Extensive consultations were held with various market participants, and ACM also looked at other countries, including Germany, where consumers have, for a long time already, been able to choose their own equipment.
The policy rule has been published today, and will come into effect six months after this publication. That will give internet providers the opportunity to set up the necessary procedures and to update their information so that end-users are able to choose and connect their own modems/routers.