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Cabinet goes the last mile to liberalise telecoms

Customers would have more freedom to choose their telecoms provider Keystone Archive

The government wants to further liberalise the country's telecom industry, threatening Swisscom's hold on end-user connections.

Under the plan, the business of connecting Switzerland’s homes and businesses to phone services would be opened up to competition.

The move poses a challenge to Swisscom, Switzerland’s state-controlled phone company.

Communications minister, Moritz Leuenberger said he wanted to free competition for end-connections – the so-called “last mile” of phone cable that connects around four million households to their local network – in place by next year.

“Deplorable decision”

Swisscom described the decision as “deplorable”, arguing that it does not hold a monopoly on local connections because Switzerland’s cable television lines allow competitors an alternative link to phone customers.

The Government, which holds a 62.7 percent stake in Swisscom, says the changes continue the liberalisation of Switzerland’s telecom industry, which since starting in 1998 have brought considerable benefits to consumers.

Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, the plan will bring it in line with European markets.

Swisscom competitors Tele 2 and sunrise welcomed the cabinet move.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR