Discussion Papers

No. 428: Drivers and barriers to commercially negotiated access to alternative FTTB/H network infrastructures

(full version only available in German)

Authors: Christin Gries, Christian Wernick


Open Access has been subject to intensive discussions in Germany for years. Nevertheless, the number of FTTC, FTTB and FTTH connections that are marketed in Germany on the basis of Open Access is comparatively low. This is surprising, as the immense costs for FTTB/H deployment can be seen as strong economic incentives for players to implement Open Access. At the same time, there were numerous activities and initiatives to promote the development of Open Access.

This paper focuses on a subset of the Open Access theme complex, namely commercially negotiated access to alternative FTTB/H infrastructures. In particular, the focus is on drivers and obstacles to corresponding agreements. This issue is increasingly gaining importance, as the coalition agreement favours the creation of investment incentives through non-discriminatory access (in the sense of Open Access) instead of a continuation of the existing ex-ante regulation regime.

The study first outlines the concept of Open Access and addresses the different conceptual dimensions (regulation, public funding, market). It can be stated that after several years of stagnation, several commercial agreements have been closed recently, facilitated in particular by progress in the development of common standards and the role of platforms.

The main obstacle to greater market penetration is the low market maturity of the fibre or gigabit market in Germany. On the one hand, the number of regions in which such products can be marketed is very low. On the other hand, even where fibre products are available, related marketing focuses on speed rather than on the underlying technologies and/or their quality parameters. As a result, additional willingness to pay for FTTB/H connections is often low hardening agreements between wholesalers and wholebuyers.

However, it can be assumed that the expected dynamisation of FTTB/H expansion will also have positive implications for commercially agreed Open Access.

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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