The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs presents ''White Paper on digital platforms''

VATM appreciates strategic decision on digitisation – Rejection of new monopoly on fibre networks

Berlin/Hanover, 20th March 2017. The VATM appreciates a number of the considerations for a repositioning by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs on questions of competition law, on the implementation of OTT into data and consumer protection laws, on data economy as well as on institutional demands for a data agency. The debate on creating stronger incentives for the deployment of fibre networks and the nationwide coverage of high-performance connections is going in the right direction in many areas. However, some of the considerations in the ''White Paper on digital platforms'' published today by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs might become subject to heated discussion.

''The idea of completely deregulating fibre networks fails to take into account the future needs of German companies within the framework of digitisation. It comes without saying that we need an adapted framework for the deployment of the fibre network. However, waiving all regulations will only help regulated companies, notably Deutsche Telekom'', warns Martin Witt, president of the VATM. ''It is inexplicable why politicians once again allow themselves to be pressed into service of one single company, hurting the economy as a whole in the process.''

A new monopoly especially on fibre connections would prevent highly specialised service providers from continuing to supply thousands of companies via a network access safeguarded by regulation. Amongst others, it would also put at risk the German economy's ability to innovate. The Federal Network Agency's proposal to introduce further flexibilisation brought forward in the White Paper would be much better suited to provide incentives for network deployment without threatening supply security and service competition. The idea to use the retail price as a reference point to determine the wholesale prices of FTTH/B access products, so called replicability approach, is interesting and should be discussed further.

''Politicians need to ensure a swift network deployment as well as access to the best innovative services for small and medium-sized enterprises, the industry and citizens. We can only succeed on our way towards a 'gigabit society' if we don't sacrifice one goal for another'', the president emphasises. The VATM will discuss these points constructively with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Network Agency. ''We are looking forward to State Secretary Mr Machnig of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs presenting the White Paper today at our traditional VATM-CeBIT-evening event and to engaging in a first discussion on the core issues'', says Witt.


Corinna Keim
Leiterin Kommunikation und Presse
Tel.: +49 221 376 77-23
E-Mail: ck(at)