31 May 2018
| Natalie Bannerman
The European Commission (EC) has approved the proposed regulation on the Belgian wholesale broadband and broadcasting markets.
The approval was given in comments on the proposal of the
Conference of Belgian telecom regulators (CRC) to impose
regulations on Proximus and other regional cable operators.
The CRC assessed the competitive conditions in the retail and
broadband and broadcasting markets, and found that the market
shares are distributed among a limited number of operators and
prices are above competitive levels. As a result the
regulator feels that it is necessary to impose wholesale
regulation on the main operators Proximus, Telenet, Nethys and
Brutélé in order to address these competition
Included within this regulation is the obligation of
Proximus and the other regional operators to provide access to
their respective networks, so that the smaller operators and
players on the market who do not own a fixed network can
compete by offering fixed telecoms services to its
Further still, CRC finds that wholesale access on Proximus
and other cable networks are not substitutable products and
therefore defines two separate wholesale 'central
access’ markets for each of the two types of
network infrastructure which are copper/fibre or coaxial cable.
In each of these two markets CRC had identified an operator
with 'significant market power’ that should be
regulated. Therefore Proximus will be made to open up the fibre
network it is currently rolling out across Belgium while
Telenet, Nethys and Brutélé are also being made
to continue to provide wholesale access to their coaxial cable
network, which is currently being used by Orange.
In its comments the EC criticised the CRC’s
definition of 'central access’ markets saying that
normally it is possible for alternative operators to switch
between different networks if commercial access conditions
change and so it would have been better to include access to
both types of network as part of the same market.
The commission goes on to say that it does not block the
CRC’s new proposal because it has demonstrated,
through its joint dominance analysis, that there are
competition problems as it relates to coordinated refusal of
access to networks on reasonable terms and the commission would
implement similar regulatory terms based on their own
In addition the EC offered its views on the long-term
dynamics of the Belgian broadband and broadcasting markets and
the CRC will now have to take these comments into consideration
as it prepares its final measures which will be published over
the coming months.