Everyone loves DSL
By Katerina Ognianova
The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) has opened two complaints filed by the local Bulgaria Internet company and the electronic media association regarding the failure of the fixed-line telecommunications operator BTC to secure the access of alternative operators to its ADSL network (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). The antitrust body will decide whether BTC abuses its monopoly position by offering ADSL access.
Internet Bulgaria insists that it should be able to offer DSL Internet via so-called beat-stream access. Bulgarian ISPs have de facto access to the last mile BTC connection (the infrastructure that reaches end customers) since 2005. However, alternative telecom operators complain that the high rental charges for lines subscriber make the use of last mile access economical. ineffective. This is why alternative telecoms are looking for beat-stream access as a possible alternative because this access will allow them to transfer only content without having access to end customers.
According to the latest version of the telecommunications law, BTC should offer its competitors specific access to its network, but it is not clear whether this access goes through beatstream. According to the Communications Regulatory Commission (CRC), specific access means a dial-up connection. Both allegations are unfounded, BTC lawyers said based on two CRC rulings from 2004 claiming that BTC was not obligated to provide ADSL access to alternative telecommunications but only dial-up access. This provision will remain in force until January 1, 2007, when the new telecommunications law comes into force.
The electronic media association will press the anti-monopoly body to impose financial penalties on BTC and force telecoms to stop offering DSL service until it provides beatstream access. The association claims that BTC offers dumping prices and that the fees of alternative operators make them uncompetitive in the market.
BTC explained that it did not plan to stop offering ADSL services.