News Column

EU Suspects Internet Firms of Anti-competitive Behavior

July 11, 2013

The European Union's executive has carried out unannounced inspections upon some internet service companies in the bloc, due to concerns that they are abusing their dominant market positions in violation of EU rules, it announced Thursday.

The European Commission did not name the companies or countries involved. But Germany's Deutsche Telekom, France's Orange and Spain's Telefonica confirmed that they had received visits.

Deutsche Telekom said it was "very puzzled" about the actions of the commission, noting that past cases brought before national regulators had been abandoned.

"Previous allegations turned out to be baseless," a spokesman said. "This market is dominated by large US providers, so we here are the wrong address."

The Dutch company KPN and Britain's BT said they had not been subjected to the inspections.

The commission is scrutinizing telecommunications companies that provide wholesale services, allowing internet providers to connect to all possible web destinations.

"This service is crucial for the functioning of the internet and for end users' ability to reach internet content with the necessary quality of service, irrespective of the location of the provider," the commission wrote.

Anti-competitive behaviour can restrict market access and affect the prices that consumers pay for services.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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