The telecommunications industry is grappling with the issue of double expansion of fiber optic connections. The German government has set a goal for all households to be supplied with fiber optics by 2030, and the competition is heating up, particularly in large cities. Critics accuse Deutsche Telekom of cherry-picking the raisins from the glass fiber business, which could lead to an imbalance in the market and cut-throat competition. Open access contracts, which guarantee competitors non-discriminatory access to an existing network or ducts, could help protect against this.
However, open access is still relatively undefined in the telco industry, and different parties have different interpretations of what it means. The pressure is increasing to get into the living rooms of fiber optic customers, and open access is seen as a central building block in the end customer business to bring traffic onto the web. Nonetheless, there are still problems with supply and demand, price points, and technical issues that need to be addressed.
To achieve the government’s goal, the industry needs to join forces and focus on open network access. Referees are necessary to ensure that companies abide by the rules, and stricter sanctions may be required to enforce an obligation for service providers to offer open access. Individual companies also need to form partnerships and combine their strengths in network expansion on site. Cooperation is becoming a “must have” in the medium term to make the network fit for the future.