Monday, October 02, 2006

REGULATION://Tomorrow is D-Day for KPN and altnets

Tomorrow will see OPTA's assessment of the future of copper-based competition in the Netherlands. A very significant event for KPN, altnets (Tele2-Versatel, Orange/Wanadoo, bbned/Telecom Italia) and cablecos (UPC, Casema/Kabelcom/Multikabel).

  • KPN is building its All-IP Network (FTTN + VDSL2) and the tiny problem of limited space in street cabinets (too small for colocating LLU-players).
  • KPN acquiring a host of ISPs, lastly Tiscali NL.
  • Warburg Pincus and Cinven trying to merge Casema, Kabelcom and Multikabel.
  • KPN's failed attempt of building a national FTTH-network together with cablecos and the latter's belief in the future of HFC-networks.

Which are the possible outcomes and OPTA's range of choice?

  • Adopt KPN's choice: just resellers, no LLU, on the All-IP network.
  • Force KPN to add a street cabinet at each location: a second one for colocation. I'm not sure this could work.
  • Structural separation, to any degree (ranging from Telecom Italia's new strategy (?) or BT's Openreach to Portugal's condition for the PT acquisition by Sonaecom).

Judging from what happened in Germany (no regulatory holiday for DT's FTTN-network), an American-style market (duopoly) seems unlikely. Besides, OPTA is too much in the habit of slamming KPN. If structural separation is proposed, it will shake European markets. So, OPTA must be studying on some kind of 'polder model'.

Finally, there is still a chance for a superior national FTTH-network, either from KPN or from any combination of players (e.g. Australian-style), but that will be hard for OPTA to have a word in.

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