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Court ruling could place new obligation on French triple-play providers

France’s Court of Cassation has ruled that triple-play service providers are responsible for ensuring all their services can be received by subscribers who sign up for bundled multi-play offerings.

In a case brought against service provider Free by a triple-play subscriber in 2004 who was unable to receive the operator’s digital TV service, the court has ruled that the service provider has an obligation to ensure that the services it markets can be received, and can’t use technical problems outside their control as an excuse to abrogate responsibility.

According to the court, service providers can only use technical problems as a reason to abrogate responsibility in the case of something that was unforeseeable when the contract was signed and could not be repaired when the contract was executed.

The ruling could have a significant impact on French triple-play service providers, who typically offer all three services for an inclusive all-in price, as it means they may have to verify that their TV services are accessible before marketing them to new subscribers.