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Swisscom Faces Massive Infrastructure Challenge Amid Antitrust Measures

 |  March 31, 2024

Switzerland’s leading telecommunications provider, Swisscom, finds itself grappling with a substantial infrastructure hurdle as it navigates antitrust measures imposed on its fiber-optic network expansion. A senior executive revealed that complying with regulatory demands could entail the daunting task of excavating approximately 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) of roads.

The backdrop to this formidable undertaking lies in a saga that began in late 2020 when the Swiss Competition Commission (WEKO) initiated an investigation into Swisscom’s fiber-optic expansion efforts. Concerns were raised regarding the potential exclusion of competitors and the abuse of Swisscom’s dominant market position. Consequently, WEKO imposed interim antitrust measures, prompting Swisscom to challenge the directives, reported Reuters.

In a recent statement to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Thomas Stemmler, Swisscom’s head of regulatory and policy, shed light on the ramifications of the regulatory stipulations. Stemmler emphasized that the requirements outlined by WEKO necessitate extensive road excavation to accommodate the laying of thicker pipelines for additional fiber-optic cables. “For us, this means that we have to dig up 3,200 kilometers more roads to put down new lines,” Stemmler stated, underscoring the magnitude of the infrastructure task at hand.

Read more: Swiss Regulator Launches Inquiry Into Swisscom

Experts consulted by the newspaper estimated that the associated costs could soar to a staggering 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.22 billion). Such a financial burden underscores the complexity and scale of Swisscom’s obligations in meeting regulatory compliance while maintaining its network expansion objectives.

The revelation of these infrastructure challenges adds a new dimension to Swisscom’s ongoing legal and regulatory battles. Balancing the imperatives of market competition with the logistical demands of infrastructure development presents a formidable test for the telecommunications giant.

Source: Reuters