Belgian cable operators Telenet and VOO have said they will appeal against a final decision by regulatory group the CRC to regulate the countrys broadcast market.
The CRC, which groups together regulators the VRM, BIPT, CSA and Medienrat, has submitted a formal decision to open up the Belgian analogue and digital TV and broadband internet markets by making access available to competitors on a wholesale basis. The ruling, which will be implemented from August 1, will cover the networks of Telenet, VOO, BrutÃ©lÃ©, NumÃ©ricable and AIESH.
Telenet had already signalled its intention to fight the reviewed draft proposals submitted by the CRC to the European Commission in May, following criticism of the original proposals by the EC. The CRCÂs revised proposals dropped an earlier inclusion of Belgacom from the list of companies that would be given access to the cable operatorsÂ networks and proposed a pricing of the wholsale offer based on a so-called Âretail-minusÂ formula.
According to Telenet, the regulatory group has failed to take into account the CommissionÂs criticisms of its revised proposals. These, according to Telenet, focused on the regulatorÂs approach of imposing wholesale obligations on the basis of an analysis of the retail market, doubts about whether the analysis fulfilled the necessary criteria for intervention, and criticisms of the disproportionate nature of the broadband remedy and the necessity and proportionality of analogue resale obligations.
Telenet is arguing that the CRC has not had time to take the ECÂs comments fully into account before deciding to regulate, and has said that it will look at Âall legal optionsÂ to appeal the decision.
VOO meanwhile has said it will appeal the decision before the Brussels Court of Appeals. The Wallonia-based operator said it was ÂastonishedÂ by the decision to impose additional regulation on operators despite the ECÂs opinion expressing serious concerns and calling on the regulators to revisit their market analysis.
The CRC said that the new rules would Âimprove the offer, price and quality of services to consumersÂ and open up the Belgian cable market to competition.Â