Competition Authority want cable pipes to have minimum size

Telia Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) wants the minimum diameter of a pipe intended for communication cables to be fixed in law. The agency said Telia, the main founder of the communications channel, may otherwise use pipes that no other communications company's cables can use in future.

When Eesti Telekom was privatized, Telia acquired most of the pipes for the communication cable network. 

Oliver Gailan, head of the Communication and Media Services Unit of the Consumer Protection and Technical Surveillance Authority, explained having significant market share is accompanied by obligations.

"And one obligation is that if there is free space in a pipe, a company with significant market power, which is Telia today, must give another company access to its own pipe," Gailan said.

If there is no space in the pipe for the new cable, Telia will escape this obligation. 

Director General of the Competition Authority Märt Ots said that building double networks is not very smart.

"The main cost of building such a cable pipe is not the cost of the pipe, but the main cost is excavation, installation, design, technical conditions," Ots explained.

The Competition Authority considers it reasonable if someone is already building a communication pipe it should be able to accommodate the cables of several communications companies.

"The problem is that since it is unregulated today, it is up to the company to decide, we are mainly talking about Telia, but also other companies as to how large a diameter cable duct cab be built. If fifty millimeters are built, it means it can't be [used by others], "Ots said.

By acting in this way, the founder of the system may drive other companies out of the market. 

According to the Competition Authority, the law could be amended so a pipe intended for a communication cable should be at least ten centimeters in diameter. 

Toivo Praakel. Source: Aleksandr Hussainov/ERR

Toivo Praakel, head of Telia's Network and Infrastructure Unit, does not understand why the Competition Authority would inhibit the competition of a cable pipe with a diameter of five centimeters. 

Praakel gave the example that today a four-fiber optical cable is only eight millimeters in diameter.

He added during new developments, the owner of the property decides which pipe to put in the ground and Telia cannot make demands on the developer. 

However, Märt Ots believes the role of the developer in building the cable duct is quite limited.

"They still take into account that it is a communications market company that knows the market best, knows the best technical solutions," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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