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Fries invites other operators to share benefits of Horizon gateway

Cable operator Liberty Global is in discussion with other operators about adopting its forthcoming multimedia gateway box, which the company plans to roll out next summer, president and CEO Mike Fries told delegates to the CTAM EuroSummit conference in Budapest.

Interviewed by CNN presenter Richard Quest at the summit, Fries said that Liberty was in “discussion with multiple operators” about the device. “We believe that there is a great opportunity for others to fall in line and benefit from this platform,” he said. In relation to the spec of the box, however, Fries said that the company had wanted to get the box rolled out in a relatively short time-frame, and had therefore not wanted to become involved in a consortium of multiple operators in designing it.

The Samsung-produced, Intel-based gateway, codenamed ‘Horizon’, will have the ability to embed and access web-based content, said Fries. He said that Liberty would develop its own app store and allow access to internet-based content via Liberty’s own user interface. The horizon box will also be accompanied by a remote control with “only four to five buttons , with a keyboard on the other side”, Fries told attendees at the EuroSummit. “We have people very excited about that product,” he said.

During a wide-ranging interview, Fries took time to praise the European regulatory approach to access to networks. “One thing [telcos] should be happy with is that regulation here is quite favourable,” he said. “I have more confidence that the EU will have a sensible and mature approach.” He contrasted this situation with the US, where government and regulators had been influenced by internet companies.