“This is not happening anywhere else in the world,” according to Sandhu. The success comes after considerable investments in the networks, which allow for deployment of Docsis 3.0. “We now have a fantastic consumer proposition. It’s all about he broadband digital infrastructure.”
During a panel session Sandhu also called for a common standard of hard and software for digital television. “This is absolutely fundamental.” In his view, the industry should set the standards rather than the regulators, citing as successful examples Microsoft Windows and the Apple iPhone or DOCSIS in the cable industry. “This is a very good example, developed by Cable Labs in the USA.” Sandhu does not think employing CI or CI plus is a good idea.
Commenting on KDG’s Von Hammerstein’s remarks about consolidation of all the former Deutsche Telekom networks, Sandhu remarked being a regional operator rather than a national one has its advantages. “We can be close to our customers and local communities. We have support at local and state level and there is a growing realization about the employment we generate and the investments we make.”
Pricing of the triple play products on Unitymedia remains stable at the €30 level, which offers 20 Mbps broadband access, free national fixed line calls and the basic digital television offer.
Unitymedia is the only cable operator with its own pay-TV DTH platform, Arenasat. “This is a low cost platform with a low break-even point” Sandhu would like to offer more premium products, including VOD, but says international broadcasters are selling too many programmes to the free-to-air broadcasters.
During the panel session we also learned that the operator has no been able to reach agreement with Disney because of the high MGs (minimum guarantees) the studio asks. “We have made huge investments in our networks.”