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The EU commission has backed German regulators and ordered Deutsche Telekom to open its network to broadband competitors.

Information and Media Comissioner Viviane Reding said on Monday said competitors should be given access to the DT network straight away. The German regulator BNetzA submitted plans to open up the market to the commission on 21 July.

Reding said: "I welcome that in spite of considerable political pressure, the German regulator has proved its independence by proposing to the commission, as required by EU law, to remedy the well-known competition problems on the German broadband market."

In a further blow to the national telco, the commission said BNetzA's scheme must give competitors access to the new €3bn VDSL network, which offers download speeds up to 52Mb/s. Deutsche Telekom had insisted it should be exempt from competition for three years owing to the scale of the investment.

Broadband penetration in Germany stands at around 12.5 per cent of households, just above the EU average of 11.5 per cent, but lagging behind the UK. According to analysts Point Topic, 42 per cent per cent of households in Britain have high-speed internet access.

The swoop to liberalise the German network should allow consumers access to price cuts brought about by a triple-play tussle. The commission has told BNetzA that if Deutsche Telekom's wholesale broadband prices are not sufficiently below their retail price they should be set by the cost of providing the service. EU law grants regulators powers to set pricing. ®

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