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Swisscom suspends fibre plans

Swisscom has suspended new joint venture partnerships for the launch of local fibre networks following a warning by the country’s competition regulator that such partnerships could be anti-competitive.

Swisscom said that the regulator had singled out clauses in its agreements that were key to such projects and had effectively adopted a narrow market definition that placed fibre rollouts in isolation from the wider broadband market. The company said that it now felt compelled to suspend its existing agreements and enter into negotiations with its local partners to see whether the model could be amended to ensure that they met the regulator’s concerns. It said it could not rule out the possibility that it would have to go it alone in rolling out fibre in the future.

“Swisscom regrets this development and still believes that the partnerships are vital for the rapid rollout of FTTH in Switzerland, and that they permit competition and secure investment going forward,” the company said. “If Swisscom were to have to go it alone, this would slow the pace of fibre-optic expansion considerably and result in less competition. This would have serious consequences for investment in future infrastructure.”