Bonn (AP) - The German Telekom and the Lower Saxony regional provider EWE may make common cause in fiber optic expansion.
After the companies had made comprehensive commitments and in future, for example, other companies on their lines must leave, the Federal Cartel Office gave on Wednesday go-ahead. A corresponding decision, which is valid for six years, published the authority in Bonn. From their point of view, the binding commitments prevent competition from being slowed down to the detriment of consumers and prevent comprehensive expansion.
In rural areas, where the fiber-optic expansion is funded by the state, EWE and Telekom should continue to compete against each other. It is the first far-reaching cooperation of two large companies in fiber optic expansion. The expansion concerns Bremen as well as parts of Lower Saxony and some northern areas in North Rhine-Westphalia. Competitors have long been critical of the co-operation between EWE and Deutsche Telekom.
The decision could have a model character in order to promote the urgently needed fiber-optic expansion in Germany. These are ultra-fast cables down to the basement (Fiber-to-the-Building, FTTB) or the homes (Fiber-to-the-Home; FTTH) and not just to the distribution box on the road.
Only a small proportion of households are already connected to this ultra-fast network. As an alternative, the equally fast Internet via TV cable is valid - but Telekom does not have this access, but Vodafone offers it above all.
But the cooperation is not quite dry. In court, competitors could file a complaint and still tilt the project.
Notice from the Cartel Office