Telekom-Control Commission makes new decision on the "last mile" Local loop unbundling possible immediately Press release dated 14 March 2001 In its meeting on March 12, 2001, the Telekom-Control Commission (TKK) passed new regulations concerning access to the "last mile." The most important elements of the decision are the possibility of local loop unbundling, area limits for collocation rooms and the gradual reduction of costs. The European Parliament and Commission's regulation on local loop unbundling, which went into effect on January 2, 2001, was an especially important factor in this decision. "The decision made by the Telekom-Control Commission on March 12, 2001 makes Austria the first country in the EU to implement the unbundling regulation nationally in a single decision. This will bring about even more positive developments in the Austrian telecommunications sector," said Dr. Heinrich Otruba, spokesman for the Telekom-Control Commission, in his comments on the TKK's decision. The general orders issued by the Telekom-Control Commission concerning the parties to the procedure (Telekom Austria AG on one side, and Telekom Service GmbH, Telekabel Wien GmbH and UTA Telekom AG on the other) will remain effective indefinitely. However, the fees will only remain valid until September 30, 2002. In order to accelerate administrative processes, penalties have also been provided for in the decision. Scope and use of local loops (subscriber lines) The applicants will be authorized to employ all transmission systems used by Telekom Austria AG and its affiliates as well as other systems on subscriber lines. Effective immediately, it will also be possible to unbundle parts of the subscriber line, e.g., building cables only. As an operator officially designated as having significant power on the market, Telekom Austria AG is now generally obliged to offer all telecommunications service providers access to subscriber lines, in other words: access to the Austrian consumer. This not only applies to voice telephony; leased-line services, data services and especially broadband and fast Internet services can also be offered. Gradual reduction of costs of local loop access The TKK's orders also provide for a step-by-step reduction of monthly fees for the use of subscriber lines. As of April 1, 2001, the price of one complete final customer line will be reduced from ATS 170 to ATS 160. This regulation will remain valid until December 31, 2001. From January 1, 2002 on, the fee per subscriber line will be ATS 150. Area limits in the assignment of collocation rooms Another important point in the TKC's decision concerned "collocation," or the paid use of a separate room in Telekom Austria AG's switching centers. The assignment of collocation space is the subject of this new regulation. In order to prevent the hoarding of collocation space in the future, the Telekom-Control Commission has restricted the size of the collocation rooms to a maximum of 22 m2.