Europe warns Germany over telecom law

The European Commission has sent the German government a final warning over the telecom law it passed last year in breach of European rules.

Germany has a month to change the national law, which allows Deutsche Telekom AG, the former state monopoly, a grace period of immunity from normal competition rules on the very high speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) Internet infrastructure which it has been building in recent years.

If the law is not changed to comply with European Union telecom rules designed to ensure fair competition, then in June the commission will take Germany to the European Court of Justice.

A ruling against Germany would result in hefty fines. However, Deutsche Telekom would not face any direct penalties, says commission spokesman. Martin Selmayr.

"The question of damages or compensation is between the commission and the German government," he says.

If the court rules against Germany then the government could possibly be sued by Deutsche Telekom’s competitors, Selmayr adds.

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Europe warns Germany over telecom law