Hässleholm Municipality cannot prevent private fibre-optic companies from laying fibre-optic cables in the municipality. This is stated in a judgment of the Patent and Market Court.
“It's satisfying that the court has now established that it is unacceptable for Hässleholm Municipality to prevent private companies from laying fibre cables by refusing to grant them land”, says Rikard Jermsten, Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
In September 2017, the Competition Authority submitted a summons application to the Patent and Market Court demanding that Hässleholm Municipality be prohibited from impeding and distorting competition in the market by refusing to grant land to private companies who want to lay fibre-optic cables. The court has now established that Hässleholm Municipality was wrong to refuse to grant land to private companies wishing to establish and sell fibre-optic connections to the municipality's inhabitants.
“This is an in principle important decision which makes it clear that the method used by Hässleholm Municipality is unacceptable”, says Rikard Jermsten.
In spring 2015, Hässleholm Municipality adopted a fibre-optic establishment plan that meant that the municipality would offer at least 95 per cent of its inhabitants a connection to a municipal fibre-optic network no later than 2020. Prior to this, private companies had shown an interest in installing fibre-optic networks in the municipality. In autumn 2015, Hässleholm Municipality announced that it no longer intended to grant land to companies who want to establish fibre-optic connections to the municipality's inhabitants. The reason for this was that the municipality wanted to improve the conditions for its own fibre-optic venture.
The Swedish Competition Authority went to court to bring a ban on the Hässleholm municipality’s actions. The municipality must not exclude private participants from the market. Others must also be given the opportunity to sell fibre-optic connections.
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