The Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has rebuffed a challenge to Swisscom's monopoly of Switzerland's local telecommunications network.
ComCom rejected a demand by the alternative operator, TDC Switzerland (formerly diAx) on Wednesday. TDC, now operating under the brand name of Sunrise, had asked for the right to interconnect with the incumbent's local network, or 'local loop'.
This would have allowed TDC to charge its own customers for local calls, rather than allowing Swisscom to route the local calls over its network and reaping the profits.
ComCom said there was an urgent need to reduce the prices of Swisscom lines leased by alternative operators. ComCom called for urgent government action to break Swisscom's monopoly on the issue, saying that its hands were tied.
Swisscom's "last mile" network connects households and local businesses to the local telecoms exchanges, and telephone users currently have to pay a charge to Swisscom for access to the local network.
However, alternative operators such as TDC, are able compete with Swisscom on the national network. Swisscom is primarily government owned - 65.5 percent.
ComCom said in a statement that TDC's request was rejected because it went against a telecoms ordinance implemented last October. However, the regulator stressed that it supported freeing up, or 'unbundling', the local loop, in order to improve services and competition within the Swiss telecoms sector.
"Unbundling would stimulate the liberalisation process and allow alternative providers to freely determine the nature and price of their services and maintain more direct customer relationships," ComCom said in its statement.
Swisscom welcomed Wednesday's decision and added that there was already intense competition from cable network operators in broadband services in Switzerland.
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