CEOs from cable operators in Europe have met in Brussels with Commissioner Reding to discuss the main regulatory topics at stake for the European cable industry. The meeting took place in Brussels on the evening of September 11, after which Cable Europe issued the following press release.
Cable pleads for a regulatory regime that encourages competition between infrastructures. Cable is concerned that over-intrusive regulated access prices will not strike the appropriate balance between service and infrastructure based competition, and will discourage investments in cable and other alternative infrastructures.
Although the EU telecoms regulation mostly affects incumbent telecom operators, cable operators are raising there voice in Brussels. They do so to ensure a level playing field and continued investments in competitive infrastructure
Europe to promote investments in networks – Access and price regulation, as still advocated in certain member states, discourages investments in cable and other alternative infrastructure. Today’s private investments are shaping the European e-communications market of tomorrow. This means that Next Generation Networks need to be handled with care. Access obligations to Next Generation Access Networks should only be imposed when assets can not be replicated by other operators.
Functional separation: cable not convinced – Cable is not convinced that there is strong evidence of the effectiveness of functional separation for telecom incumbent networks, and takes the view that it could be counterproductive. Cable is concerned that the use of this remedy could temper the development of new networks and competition between infrastructures.
State subsidies: Commission to monitor national and local funding – Cable Europe is concerned by the increasing tendency of local and national authorities to provide state-subsidies to new infrastructures like Digital Terrestrial, WiFi and Fibre-to-the-Home, often in very competitive urban areas. Such subsidies distort markets, network upgrades, and carry the risk of delaying investments by commercial network operators.
Cable goes for digital TV migration – Cable is investing heavily in the introduction of digital TV. The digital TV migration is probably the most important business fact for the cable industry. Cable is witnessing the first success of the migration to digital TV, though digital TV in Europe is still significantly lagging behind the US. More work is needed to allow Europe to take the lead in this evolution.
Brussels could be a support in the digital TV migration by a discontinuation of the wholesale broadcast regulation and by putting a halt to subsidies which exclusively finance the DTT transition, be it DTT set-top boxes or DTT infrastructure