In the reporting year, a number of developments occurred which are important for ensuring that Switzerland has a wide range of affordable, high-quality, competitive telecommunications services. Firstly, Swisscom has the obligation under the new universal service licence to provide broadband to all households in Switzerland. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) took several decisions concerning access to the Swisscom network by alternative telecommunications providers which are significant for future developments. For example, the prices for the unbundling of the local loop were set. Also worthy of mention is the provisional extension of the existing GSM licences held by Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom. It is hoped that it will be possible to replace these in 2009 by essentially technology-neutral utilisation of frequencies, after the conclusion of proceedings which are still pending before the Federal Administrative Court.
The deployment of optical fibre to households in 2008 was a harbinger of future developments. This was carried out to a considerable extent by local power companies, which until now have played only a marginal role in the provision of telecommunication services. Work in international bodies has in 2008 yet again proven to be of great value to Switzerland. The introduction of internationalised internet domain names, i.e. using character sets other than Latin, is one example.
Philipp Metzger, Vice-Director and Head of Division