Old monopolies die hard - especially in the former command economies of Eastern Europe. So much so in fact that the European Commission (EC) is taking official steps to impose sanctions on the incumbent Polish telco, Telekomunikacja Polska (TP). Martyn Warwick reports.
The EC says the operator has routinely and determinedly abused its dominant market position by outright and repeated refusal to supply remunerated access to its wholesale broadband services. TP has now has two months to present its defence and rebuttal of the accusations.
Almost a year ago now, back in early spring 2009, the EC began its investigation into TP's business practices following complaints from the carrier's competitors. Progress has been slow but the European authorities have come to the "preliminary conclusion" that Telekomunikacja Polska has abused its position of strength in the wholesale broadband access market.
They also say that TP continued in its abuse throughout the investigation.
The EC says TP's intransigence has meant that rival operators have been forced to suffer "a lengthy and burdensome process" as they try to negotiate the hurdles put across their paths by the incumbent carrier.
The Commission also says that TP deliberately and repeatedly used overt and illegal delaying tactics and imposed unreasonable conditions on those competitors trying to effect access to its wholesale broadband services. It specifically and categorically asserts that TP withheld information rival operators needed to "make sound business decisions and operate efficiently".
The European Commission concludes that Telekomunikacja Polska's actions have hindered and delayed the development of the broadband retail market in Poland and that the carrier is responsible for impeding the country's economic development.
No pressure then.
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