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France Telecom fined €80m in broadband access row

Plans to appeal

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France Telecom has been fined a whopping €80m (£54m) for failing to open up its network to rival broadband providers.

The incumbent telco - which owns mobile giant Orange and ISP Wanadoo - has already said it plans to appeal the ruling issued by France's Competition Council yesterday branding the fine as "disproportionate".

The original complaint dates back to 1999 when 9 Telecom complained that it was unable to gain access to France Telecom's network to provide a rival broadband service.

Rival operators were not able to gain access to France Telecom's network until late 2002, concluded investigators despite repeated attempts to get the telco to comply.

But in a statement France Telecom hit back saying that the complaint was lodged even before the telecoms regulator had "defined the conditions for the opening of this market and before the end of the public consultation to which all players in the telecommunications sector participated".

It also pointed out that France Telecom's approach to broadband "was a key factor in the development of the broadband market in France" and that "as a result, France has become the leading European country both in terms of number of ADSL lines and number of unbundled lines".

"In view of these elements, the ruling...appears to be disproportionate, all the more since it is sanctioning behaviours and tariffs imposed within the framework of the sector specific regulation," it said. ®

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