Belgian cable operator Telenet has ceased talks with the Interkabel consortium over the introduction of interactive digital television services and has begun legal proceedings. Interkabel has announced the launch of an interactive version of its digital In-Di platform, which Telenet claims is illegal.
Under a contract between the two operators Telenet has the exclusive rights to offer point-to-point services on the four Interkabel networks, Integan, Interelektra, PBE and WVEM. At the time the contract was signed in 1996 – for a period of 50 years – it was supposed to cover cable telephony and broadband internet access. The current dispute is about the question whether interactive television and video-on-demand can also be considered point-to-point communication or not.
Interkabel is of the opinion it is free to launch any television service it wants as this is not covered by the contract, Telenet claims interactivity and on-demand services are part of the agreement. After Interkabel launched its In-Di digital platform there was no problem, but the two companies have been talking to each other ever since about the possible introduction of the Telenet iDTV services over the Interkabel networks.