On July 17, 2017, the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), the highest court in the Netherlands in telecom regulation matters, has ruled on the market analysis decision regarding Unbundled local access. On the basis of this market analysis, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has determined that Dutch telecom company KPN must continue to grant competitors access to its copper and fiber-optic networks in the period of 2016 – 2019.
The CBb ruled that ACM had correctly required KPN to open its network to competitors. ACM believes that this ruling benefits both consumers and businesses. Without ACM’s regulation, most people would only be able to choose either KPN or cable company Ziggo for their telecom services. They are now also able to choose between different providers on KPN’s network, such as Online, Tele2, and T-Mobile. This leads to lower prices and better services.
The European Commission was critical of the market analysis in 2015. After receiving the Commission’s comments, ACM further substantiated its original decision. On January 1, 2016, the regulatory regime subsequently came into force. Various market participants (including telecom companies) appealed against ACM’s decision in court. However, the CBb ruled that ACM had substantiated its decision properly. The CBb follows all elements of ACM’s analysis, including the concrete remedies that ACM imposed on KPN. In that context, the CBb ruled that, among other things, ACM is allowed to regulate KPN, because KPN is stronger on the business telecom market than all other competitors, including Ziggo.
The CBb is the highest court in the Netherlands in telecom regulation matters. It is not possible to appeal to a higher court. This ruling is therefore irrevocable.
The full text is available in Dutch at www.rechtspraak.nl.