• Regulator calls vectoring broadband proposal `fair compromise'
  • German carrier required to grant access to competitors

Deutsche Telekom AG has been given the green light by a German regulator for its 1 billion euro ($1.1 billion) plan to upgrade copper lines to provide high-speed Internet to millions of homes in Europe’s biggest economy.

The federal regulator approved the plan that will require Deutsche Telekom, about 32 percent owned by the German state, to give competitors access to the technology and ensure rivals can install fiber cables if they decide to do so, the Bundesnetzagentur said Monday in a draft decision.

The proposal is a “fair compromise,” Jochen Homann, the regulator’s president, said in an e-mailed statement. “We want to push broadband expansion while ensuring fair competition for the future that benefits consumers and enables fair and reliable conditions to companies for their investments.”

Europe’s biggest phone company has offered to spend 1 billion euros to provide about 6 million households with high-speed Internet connections with so-called vectoring technology that upgrades existing copper lines. Deutsche Telekom’s rivals and German mechanics’ lobby groups have protested the plan, saying it would hurt competition by granting the Bonn-based company exclusive access to key network infrastructure.

Vodafone Group Plc’s Kabel Deutschland and Liberty Global’s Unitymedia have been trying to lure customers by offering cheaper and faster cable-based Internet services. Deutsche Telekom has to live up to its vectoring pledges or face "drastic” fines, the regulator said.

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