Monday, June 12, 2006

Stacking the deck(-chairs on the Titanic?)

Just ahead of tomorrow's vote in Dutch parliament on revisions to telecom regulation, the CDA party, which last week seemed to shock many with an apparent backing of the pro-cable line against muni-fiber, today has seemingly adopted a more measured stance. However, they still insist on a finite period (five years) of financial involvement for the municipal governments, after which divestiture must occur. Perhaps this party can afford to appear a little kinder, while the real tough guys have crafted a heavy-handed draft revision to Chapter 5 of the Law on Telecommunication to be voted on tomorrow, containing some strange and ominous elements. Article 5.15 of the draft states that municipalities may not have any financial stakes in telecom services, to which many would respond, "What about Essent and Delta, which have municipal shareholders and deliver end-to-end services as monopolies within their regional footprints?" Such cases are grandfathered in Article 20.12. My online English-Dutch translation tool tells me the appropriate phrase to use at this point is "Ik ruik een rat."

No comments: