Legal battle looms over World Cup network

Prospects of a legal battle between the German government and the European Commission over a new network for online access to World Cup football matches moved a step closer on Monday.

EU information society commissioner Viviane Reding said Monday she had written to the German economics minister to express concern about plans to allow Deutsche Telekom AG to prevent competitors using a fiber optic network it is planning to install in time for the World Cup which kicks off in Germany in July.

The commissioner, who is responsible for overseeing how national regulators police local telecommunications markets, has hinted strongly on previous occasions that she will refer Germany to the European Court of Justice if it does not amend draft regulations for the telecommunications sector being drawn up by the government.

“The future of the telecommunications market is not by establishing new monopolies on the basis of old ones,” Reding told a press conference in Brussels on Monday. Instead, new infrastructure should be opened to competition, she said, arguing that competition led to increased revenue.

Deutsche Telekom is planning to build a

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