Liberty backed Flemish cable operator Telenet has won its court case against Interkabel regarding exclusive access to the four cable operators’ networks for its VOD and iTV services, besides the Voice and Internet services it already operates on these networks. Interkabel is now barred from launching additional interactive services including VOD, interactivity and enhanced televsion on their digital TV offer In-Di.
Interkabel has said it will appeal the ruling, but also asked Telenet to come up with a reasonable offer to roll out interactive TV services on their networks. The conflict between Telenet and Interkabel has been going on for some time. Telenet has a contract with Interkabel to deliver ‘interactive services’ on the Interkabel networks. The dispute is about the meaning of ‘interactive services’: according to Interkabel this applies only to telephony and broadband access, Telenet claims it also includes interactive TV.
Interkabel serves almost 800,000 households in Flanders on the Integan, Interelectra, PBE and WVEM networks.Telenet serves about 1.6 million households in Flanders and parts of Brussels.
Criticism of Belgium’s high broadband prices is being raised again as EU commisioner Kroes has slapped the Spanish incumbent telco Telefonica with an €151.9 million fine for keeping wholesale access prices high, and its own ADSL retail prices low, thereby not allowing other broadband providers to compete (see separate story). Both Belgacom and Telenet say they have nothing to fear from the EU’s competition commissioner.