In our previous analysis of the Netherlands, we pointed out the potential for the development of a viable open access market, due to the activity of a number of infrastructure players and municipalities. However, there were major barriers including lack of scale, a fragmented market, and stiff competition from cable operators and the incumbent, KPN. Since then, there have been a number of key developments which have either eased or even removed these barriers and triggered the deployment of open access (predominately at a passive level) on a large scale. The most significant of these is the joint venture between KPN and Reggefiber, which is another example of incumbents taking on a more collaborative approach towards investment which is highly capex-intensive.
The Netherlands is also of interest in terms of operators showing a clear preference for point-to-point FTTH where open access networks are being deployed. In many other markets, passive optical networks (PONs) have become the technology of choice. The widespread deployment of P2P has been supported by OPTA, which has been proactive in promoting open access on a large scale in order to better facilitate competitor access to fiber access networks. This includes a cost-orientated price control obligation for unbundled access to the fiber (optical distribution frame – ODF) access network.
Joint venture activity has become central to the development of next-generation access (NGA) in the Netherlands. The country’s NGA players have benefited from a clear regulatory NGA framework provided by the regulator, OPTA, which crucially included pricing clarity. The hook-up between incumbent KPN and infrastructure specialist Reggefiber means that more than 2 million homes (at least one-quarter of households) should have access to point-to-point-based FTTH broadband by 2013. In addition to Amsterdam’s open access network, there are a number of smaller FTTH networks instigated by municipalities. Elsewhere, KPN is rolling out FTTC. High-speed cable broadband also plays a central role, with major players UPC and Ziggo offering between 25Mbps and 120Mbps.
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