Telenet continues wholesale fight

Belgian cable operator Telenet has said it will continue to fight regulatory proposals that would place open access obligations on cable operators in the country.

Telenet said it had reviewed revised draft proposals submitted by the Belgian Conference of Regulators (CRC) to the European Commission. The cable operator argues that, even thought the revised proposals have taken into account a number of concerns raised by cable operators, they are still “inadequate and outdated”. 

The initial proposals submitted by regulators the VRM, BIPT, CSA  and  Medienrat in December proposed that operators should  make  analogue  television  available on  a  wholesale basis,  provide  access  to  their  digital  TV  platform  and  also make  broadband  internet  available  on  a  wholesale  basis, the latter  only  in combination  with  access  to  digital  TV. The revised proposals remove Belgacom from the list of companies that would be given access to the cable operators’ digital TV and broadband internet platforms and provide a stricter framework for access to other providers. They also propose that pricing of the wholesale offer will be based on a ‘retail-minus’ formula and will be subject to a separate consultation.

The EC now has three months to examine the revised proposals. Telenet argues that the telecom market in Belgium does not meet criteria set by the European authorities that would permit local regulators to intervene. It has argued that cable TV prices are already regulated (and the digital TV market is in any case more competitive than before) while analogue TV regulation would be out of date as only 28% of the population currently relies on analogue reception.

Meanwhile, it says, the regulators have failed to provide an analysis of the market for bundled TV and broadband products and have ignored the growing convergence of fixed and mobile services.