Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR / optical fibre expansion

Federal Administrative Court upholds COMCO precautionary measures

In December 2020, the Competition Commission (COMCO) opened an investigation into the optical fibre expansion by Swisscom and ordered precautionary measures against Swisscom. In its judgement of 30 September 2021, the Federal Administrative Court has concluded that the measures ordered by COMCO should be maintained. Swisscom greatly regrets this decision as its choice of the point-to-multipoint architecture for the expansion is based on a successful international model. Swisscom considers the precautionary measures to be misguided. The impact of the ruling will be to delay the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) optical fibre expansion to the detriment of society and the economy.

Photo shows the Federal Administrative Court building in St. Gallen. The sky is blue with white clouds and the building is grey/white. In front of the building, you can see trees and shrubs. The building itself is a modern high-rise building with many large windows.

“The point-to-multipoint network architecture that we rely on for the optical fibre expansion is internationally proven and established, but in Switzerland has been criticised by a small number of competitors, which could, in the worst case scenario, slow down the network expansion by several years. There is competition at all levels, and numerous cooperation partners are involved in the expansion, which entails billions of euros in investment,” commented Swisscom CEO Urs Schaeppi. “We are convinced that our conduct is fair and in line with competition law and will now consider our next steps.”

Swisscom offers all of its competitors broad, non-discriminatory access to its networks under regulated or commercially agreed conditions. Swisscom is continuously expanding its network and invests around CHF 1.6 billion per year in the expansion and maintenance of these networks. Competitors also benefit from this as it reduces their own investments and costs.

Point-to-multipoint is the foundation for rapid and efficient optical fibre expansion

For the further expansion of FTTH (Fibre to the Home), Swisscom is primarily relying on the point-to-multipoint (P2MP) architecture from the manhole, as is used in many countries. This approach continues to allow for competition with a wide range of offerings. It is the ideal architecture to promote the optical fibre expansion throughout Switzerland as it builds on the existing network. Both end customers and wholesale customers benefit from this due to the purchase of wholesale input products. 

The precautionary measures of COMCO have jeopardised this cost-effective and efficient P2MP approach and, in the worst case, risk delaying the planned expansion of the fibre-optic network by several years. Swisscom’s goal is to double the number of FTTH connections by 2025.

Wide choice and maximum bandwidth

Swisscom offers providers without their own network a wide range of network access options with different bandwidths. These offerings have existed on the market for many years, are continually being further developed and enjoy a high level of acceptance among wholesale customers. Providers without their own network always have access to the maximum available bandwidth and, thanks to the fibre-optic partnership and wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) network access model, have additional access options to the lowest network level Layer 1. These two access options were originally put forward by COMCO itself. In addition, Swisscom intends to continue to expand the network wherever possible in cooperation with partners.

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