Annual report 2021

The BIPT monitors the implementation of the obligations imposed upon operators with significant market power, among which the obligation to develop reference offers allowing other operators access to the infrastructure of the operators with significant market power. In 2021, different aspects of Proximus’s reference offers have been examined and the decisions regarding the cable operators’ reference offers became final following the opinions of the Competition Authority and the European Commission.
The rates in the reference offers have to be set in conformity with an efficient operator’s costs. Last year, the BIPT took both the unique fees for access to Proximus’s FTTH network and the unique fees for the coax networks in hand. In 2021, the BIPT tackled the monthly rental fees for access to the FTTH network and for the Ethernet transport at the level of the wholesale offers.
By means of a margin squeeze test the BIPT ascertained that operators with significant market power apply an appropriate margin between the prices on the retail markets and those on the wholesale markets.

The website was launched to provide answers to the many questions accompanying a large-scale fibre roll-out and to raise awareness among different target groups regarding the use and significance of fibre. In order to reflect the situation and evolution of FTTH roll-out in Belgium the development of a fibre map was initiated in 2021.

The tendency towards cooperation among the operators to be able to face the challenges accompanying the roll-out of very high capacity networks as well as concentrations in the electronic communications sector, are actively monitored by the BIPT.
A comparison of the prices of telecommunications services in Belgium to those of the neighbouring countries showed that Belgium is a country with relatively high prices for telecommunications services in general. That is why, among other reasons, the national price study has been recast and 10 “family profiles” meeting today’s needs have been introduced. The study demonstrates the importance for the Belgian consumer to compare offers more often. In addition to the price studies, the qualitative study of fixed and mobile broadband networks focusses on their technical quality. In 2021 the BIPT also published its findings regarding concerns about open internet access in the report on the monitoring of net neutrality.

The postal observatory, created by the BIPT in 2010, provides the opportunity to follow the evolutions in the postal sector. In preparation of a study on the postal aspects of e-commerce, two workshops were organised with the stakeholders.

In 2021, the BIPT also gathered information from the cross-border parcel delivery providers and analysed bpost’s corresponding pricing.
It validated the qualification (universal, public or commercial service) of the various services of the universal postal service provider, bpost, as well as the latter’s analytical accounting and continued the development of a method to examine the universal service’s net costs.

Balanced reference offers for increased competition on the wholesale market

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