Legal battle looms over World Cup network

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

EU information society commissioner Viviane Reding said Mondayshe had written to the German economics minister to express concernabout plans to allow Deutsche Telekom AG to prevent competitorsusing a fiber optic network it is planning to install in time forthe World Cup which kicks off in Germany in July.

The commissioner, who is responsible for overseeing how nationalregulators police local telecommunications markets, has hintedstrongly on previous occasions that she will refer Germany to theEuropean Court of Justice if it does not amend draft regulationsfor the telecommunications sector being drawn up by thegovernment.

“The future of the telecommunications market is not byestablishing new monopolies on the basis of old ones,” Reding tolda press conference in Brussels on Monday. Instead, newinfrastructure should be opened to competition, she said, arguingthat competition led to increased revenue.

Deutsche Telekom is planning to build a

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