The last part on thursday is all about regulation. Matthias Kurt, president of the Bundesnetzagentur, the german regulation agency, spoke about consequences of high dynamics of competition in Germany and how this affects his daily work. “Neither we face the doomsday in this industry nor that everything would be very easy and happy”, so Kurth. The Bundesnetzagentur is supporting the plurality of access technologies and is very interested in all new services like HDTV, IPTV, DVB-H and DMB and sees no problem in the plurality of the standards in this area as well as a value for the customer.
One big discussion in germans telecommunications industry is that the incumbant Deutsche Telekom asked for “regulatory holidays”. They say that if they should invest 3 billion Euros in VDSL infrastructure they don’t want to open this networks immediatly to their competition and want some years protection (what I can personally understand). But the European Union doesn’t want to allow this – other than the german government and the regulator (Bundesnetzagentur) who wants to allow escape rules in new markets. But: What is a new market? So far there is no decision – and after the first discussions and several reports from experts there is still a big confusion: but on a much higher level. (More infos here.) Again – to understand this discussion which seems very specific to Germany’s telco market, you have to know that there are only around 10,4 million DSL subscriber (80m inhabitants), 76,1% owned or controlled by Deutsche Telekom and nearly no users with cable access (120k subscriber).
Last discussion topic was Network Neutrality (the principle that network operators should not discriminate among network applications). Kurth assured the strong interest in openess and standardizations – compliant to EU laws. But an existing problem is Quality of Service for special applications and the solution might be in extra fees for extra services as long the customer can decide freely and nobody from other service providers are dicriminated.