The Verband kommunaler Unternehmen (German Association of Local Public Utilities, VKU) said the regulator should force Deutsche Telekom to provide regular information about its fibre network expansion plans to prevent overbuild

This week, the head of the VKU, Ingbert Liebing, has called upon Klaus Müller, head of the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur, BNetzA) “to intervene boldly now and oblige Telekom to provide regular information about its expansion plans in the next 12 months”.

The VKU holds that the opacity of Deutsche Telekom’s fibre rollout plans are having a negative impact on the nation’s fibre-to-the-home FTTH rollout, making it hard for rival operators to know where they can profitably invest.

“Hundreds of reports from overbuilding show that strategic overbuilding is by no means a niche phenomenon, but rather that strategic overbuilding, as practiced by Telekom, is slowing down the nationwide expansion of fibre optic networks throughout Germany,” said Liebing.

The VKU reports that 62% of its member companies have been overbuilt or changed plans due to the threat of being overbuilt; in the worst cases, rival operator’s network expansions have been cancelled entirely as a result of Deutsche Telekom’s overbuild plans.

BNetzA itself has reportedly received almost 300 complaints about overbuild since monitoring the situation at the beginning of July.

Deutsche Telekom, naturally, say they are simply competing fairly, as allowed by the current regulatory framework, arguing that they already face fierce competition in the fibre market.

Earlier this month, a WIK report on the matter commissioned by BNetzA found that, while some urban parts of the country could feasibly support the deployment of two or more adjacent networks, in suburban and rural areas overbuild would likely result in more costly and delayed rollouts.

“In order to expand a comprehensive fiber optic network and achieve the federal government’s expansion goals, clear regulatory steps are now urgently needed to counter the strategic structure of the dominant company,” said Jürgen Grützner, MD of the Association of Providers of Telecommunications and Value-Added Services (VATM), commenting on the report.

Is the German regulatory framework doing enough to accelerate the fibre rollout across the country? Join the operators in discussion at this year’s Connected Germany conference live in Munich

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