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Regionalism and telecommunications infrastructure competition: The Belgian case

By Pascal Verhoest

Abstract

European liberalization of the telecommunications infrastructure means, among other things, that cable distribution firms can develop into fully fledged telecommunications organizations. Such developments are of particular significance in the Belgian case. The Flemish region announced the creation of a 'national' Flemish telecommunications operator, based on a joint venture between the existing cable companies and a foreign operator. Once established, this operator is expected to compete with the 'federal' operator, Belgacom, on all levels. Flanders could become an EU region with a fully duplicated communications infrastructure. The object of this paper is to draw some lessons for the development of telecommunications policy in Belgium. The central questions lies in the link between federalization and the process of liberalization in Belgium. The paper shows how regionalist tendencies and internationalization meet in the European context.

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