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ACM fines KPN for putting competitors in broadband services at a disadvantage

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed four fines on Dutch telecom company KPN totaling EUR 972,977. KPN put competitors on its fiber optic and copper networks (such as Tele2 and Online) at a disadvantage when it introduced broadband services. The fines concern violations where KPN as the owner of these networks offers services to its competitors.

KPN is required to inform competitors on its networks in advance if it wishes to offer new services to consumers such as faster internet connections. This way, KPN’s competitors are given the opportunity to offer an alternative. This increases the freedom of choice for consumers.

ACM has established that KPN did not comply with the requirements regarding transparency and non-discrimination. That creates an unlevel playing field for competing businesses, which may be harmful to consumers, because they did not have a choice between different suppliers/products.

Transparency requirement

KPN is required to inform competitors at least two months in advance of any plans to offer new or revised services on its networks. KPN is required to do so to allow competitors on its networks to anticipate its plans, for example, by introducing a similar service in their product range or by adjusting the tariff they charge consumers for a certain service.

Non-discrimination requirement

During that pre-announcement period of at least two months, KPN is not allowed to offer any deals to consumers. This prevents KPN from putting a better or cheaper offer on the market. Its competitors would not have had any opportunity to include the new service on KPN’s network in their own product ranges.

This is not the first time that KPN is fined for this type of behavior. The current fines have thus been raised. In addition, KPN did not find the violations themselves. It also failed to notify ACM of them, and subsequently end them, which had been agreed upon in a code of conduct.

ACM gave KPN these decisions on October 29, 2013. However, KPN applied to the court for an interim injunction against publication of these decisions. KPN withdrew the application on November 15, 2013.

KPN filed an objection against the fining decisions.

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