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Swisscom antitrust conditions would lead to more roadworks, executive says

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss telecoms group Swisscom is seen at an office building, in Zurich

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swisscom would have to dig up 3,200 km (2,000 miles) of roads to comply with antitrust measures imposed on its fibre-optic cable network expansion, a senior executive at the telecom provider was quoted as saying on Sunday.

In late 2020, the Swiss Competition Commission (WEKO) opened an investigation into Swisscom's fibre-optic expansion and ordered interim antitrust measures on the grounds it could exclude competitors and lead to the abuse of its leading market position.

The company appealed the steps.

Swisscom's head of regulatory and policy, Thomas Stemmler, told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper the requirements set out by WEKO meant that many roads would have to be dug up to lay thicker pipe for additional cables.

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"For us, this means that we have to dig up 3,200 kilometers more roads to put down new lines," he said.

The newspaper said experts estimated the costs for the work could run to some 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.22 billion).

A spokesperson for Swisscom declined to comment on the expansion cost estimates published by the paper and how many roads had been completed, but said Swisscom continued to expand its roll-out and was raising its targets slightly so that by the end of 2025, fibre-optic coverage is expected to increase from 46% at present to 57% and by the end of 2030 to 75-80%.

($1 = 0.9016 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Dave Graham, Editing by Louise Heavens)