Deutsche Telekom Joint Ventures Clash with Industry on Fiber Network End-Device Freedom

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Deutsche Telekom Joint Ventures Clash with Industry on Fiber Network End-Device Freedom
(Image: Deutsche Glasfaser)

Two fiber network operators, both joint ventures of Deutsche Telekom, have issued statements to the Federal Network Agency advocating for end-device freedom. In contrast, virtually all industry associations of alternative network operators, such as Anga, Buglas, Breko, Vatm, and VKU, are opposing this stance.

Glasfaser Nordwest, a joint venture between Telekom and Ewe, has asserted that the existing Fiber Termination Point (GF-TA) has proven itself as the endpoint of the passive telecommunications network under Section 73 of the Telecommunications Act. They argue that no clear technical or operational necessity has been presented for relocating the network endpoint to the Optical Network Terminal (ONT).

In particular, there is no basis for obligating the installation of additional devices or new combination or hybrid devices after the ONT and before the end customer’s router. They state, “As a wholesale-only provider, we cannot deploy individual devices at the end customer’s premises; instead, we must rely on a precisely defined, uniform passive network endpoint. This is the only way to provide all marketing partners with the same non-discriminatory opportunity.”

Glasfaserplus, a joint venture between Telekom and the Australian IFM Global Infrastructure Fund, also wishes to maintain the current legal framework. They argue, “Modifying the passive optical network (PON) network endpoint is legally impermissible. The existing determination of the network endpoint complies with European law,” as stated by Dentons Europe, the legal and tax advisors for Glasfaserplus.

Advantages of end-device freedom outweigh drawbacks

There is also no objective technical necessity to set the passive network endpoint after the ONT in PON. “The individual cases of problems cited by the associations do not show that the current determination of the network endpoint significantly and structurally impairs the ease of operating the public network. The disadvantages resulting from the freedom to choose end devices do not obviously outweigh the benefits,” Glasfaserplus maintains.

In a request to the Federal Network Agency, virtually all relevant associations of network operators and providers in Germany are seeking to rescind end-device freedom in fiber networks. Anga, Buglas, Breko, VKU, and VATM are demanding that “in Passive Optical Networks (PON), the network endpoint should be located after the ONT and before a router or similar device.” They claim that using a separate ONT results in disruptions.

Most providers still install a fixed fiber modem (ONT) in homes behind the fiber connection point, even though the free choice of end devices for telecommunications connections has been legally mandated since 2016. The Federal Network Agency has tolerated this breach of the law thus far. Modern fiber routers already integrate the modem.

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Ronald Peart
As an AI and machine learning aficionado, Ronald Peart unravels the complexities of artificial intelligence, offering comprehensive insights and updates on the tech landscape.