In its decision of 10 January 2008, the BIPT imposed a number of regulatory obligations on Belgacom in connection with the market for wholesale unbundled access to metallic loops and sub-loops for the purpose of providing broadband and voice services, and the market for wholesale broadband access. Both markets had been identified by EU telecoms rules as markets that are susceptible to ex ante regulation.
Belgacom considered that the BIPT's decision was based on an incorrect analysis of the broadband markets and therefore appealed this decision.
The Court of Appeal annulled, for lack of reasoning, the BIPT's decision in so far as it imposed obligations on Belgacom on the wholesale unbundled access market (including the obligation (i) to grant access services without geographic differentiation; (ii) to provide unbundled access to the local sub-loop; and (iii) not to withdraw access granted, without prior approval by court or the BIPT)
With regard to the wholesale broadband access market, the Court of Appeal ruled that BIPT's market analysis was not sufficiently founded and incomplete, mainly in relation to the methodology adopted and the assessment of the competitive pressure exercised by cable operators and potential barriers to entry. As a result, the Court of Appeal invalidated the decision in so far as it designated Belgacom as the dominant operator in that market and annulled the obligations imposed on Belgacom.
Further to the Court's judgment, the BIPT launched a public consultation in relation to its proposed revised decision. Pending the BIPT's final decision, Belgacom has announced that it will not make any major changes to its existing wholesale offer.