Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Netherlands to Mandate Cable Network Access

At some point, as cable operators become more substantial providers of voice and data services, they will find they start to come under the regulatory frameworks long established for other telecom providers. Cable operators in The Netherlands appear to be at the front of that trend.

The Netherlands regulatory authority OPTA is proposing mandatory access rules for cable operators very similar to rules governing wholesale access that apply to KPN, for example, but in the video services area.

OPTA says the emergence of terrestrial digital TV, satellite and IPTV platforms have failed to bring about a greater choice for buyers of multichannel video. OPTA says the option of imposing a freeze on prices is not a sustainable solution that would lead to greater competition.

So now it wants to create a wholesale access regime for video services. The actual text is not yet available, so it is difficult to assess the extent of the rules. It does seem reasonable that what OPTA is after is something more than the ability to resell the existing cable services. More likely, the rules will allow competing video packagers access through the local cable network for alternate providers offering differentiated fare.

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