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Watchdog investigates Swisscom's fibre optic network expansion

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss telecoms group Swisscom is seen at an office building, in Zurich, Switzerland May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland’s competition commission (COMCO) has opened an investigation into telecoms provider Swisscom, ordering immediate precautionary measures to allow competitors access to networks during its optical fibre expansion.

Swisscom is expanding its fibre optic home network, aiming to double the number of connections by 2025 to reach a further 1.5 million households and businesses in the small country.

COMCO on Thursday said Swisscom’s expansion risked excluding other participants from the market that could amount to misuse of its market-leading position.

“In areas that it is expanding on its own, it is changing the design of the network in such a way that competitors no longer have direct access to the network infrastructure,” COMCO said in a statement.

“For this reason, the Competition Commission is immediately taking precautionary measures to prohibit Swisscom from denying competitors access to end-to-end lines during expansion of the fibre optic network,” it said.

Swisscom said it planned to defend itself against the allegations and would file an objection against the precautionary measures ordered by COMCO.

“Swisscom offers all its competitors broad access to its networks on a non-discriminatory basis on terms that are regulated or commercially agreed,” the company said in a statement.

“Swisscom fails to understand the allegations made by COMCO, will analyse them in detail and decide on the further course of action,” the company said.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Edmund Blair

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