The Dutch market for Internet via cable is tight. Up until Ziggo merged with UPC, there was some choice. However, once the takeover was complete, the choice was gone – third parties cannot provide their services on the biggest Dutch cable network any longer. If it’s cable that you want, then it will be Ziggo that you will have. If it is up to the European Commission (EC), that is going to change.
Early June the EC and the European Parliament reached a ‘political agreement’ on new telecom rules. The agreement contains three major changes: 5G networks have to be available before 2020, telephone costs must drop and fixed telecom networks have to be open to more carriers.
In The Netherlands today, KPN has been forced to offer third party access to their network on copper (DSL) or fiber. However, Vodafone/Ziggo does not offer third party access to their cable network any more. That means that if you’re outside of an area where multiple networks are available and your only choice is cable connectivity, you have to rely on Ziggo’s IP service. This may be fine for consumers, but not necessarily for business users. In addition, you have to accept the new tariffs both companies announced.
The agreement reached in Brussels states that ISPs that own cable networks should open them up for other carriers, in parts where it is hard to build a new network. KPN does that in some parts, but only because they are compelled by law. A plan introduced by ACM in February to open up the networks and to regulate them more, was almost immediately shot down by KPN.
State Secretary for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer was very happy to see that ‘three important demands’ were incorporated in the European agreement. “The agreement stimulates investments in new technology, provides more competition in the market and is good for Dutch consumers.” And I must say, I do agree with her on this.
If the cable internet market will be opened to new carriers, it could definitely help with the cost of Internet and probably with the service also. They will have to work harder for you to stay. It may even be a boost the speed of the Internet again, bringing us back in the top ten of fast internet in the world.
This agreement is just a political one and we have to see when and how it will be implemented. But for now we can look forward to having choices again. Finally!