The Polish Chamber of Electronic Communications (PIKE) has issued a strongly worded statement criticising draft proposals by the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) that would open up the networks of the six leading cable operators to other parties.
According to PIKE, the negative effects of the draft proposals may affect up to 4.5 million households in Poland. If they come into force, customers will not be able to use the services of various operators providing TV, internet or telephony togther, and instead be forced to choose only one supplier. Investment in the development of high-speed internet is also at risk and the choice and diversity of services available to consumers will be limited.
PIKE notes that these proposals impose duties on only six selected cable operators, discrimating against these companies and the technology they employ. Furthermore, the publication of the draft decisions was not preceeded by market analyses as required by law.
There is also particular concern about the fact that UKE would impose expensive regulatory obligations on cable operators while deregulating the incumbent telco Orange. This may result in the remonopolisation of the market, restriction of competition and quality of services.
There is also a risk of loss of service continuity for existing customers. As a result of regulatory actions, they can be disconnected, either deliberately or accidentally. The effect of this may be to deprive many households of access to digital services.
Jerzy Straszewski, president of PIKE, said: “The currently proposed regulation of access to cables goes across infrastructural competition, degrades business models based on wholesale, commercial access to infrastructure, discourages investment in modern infrastructure and deepens infrastructural backwardness of our country, to the detriment of the entire economy. PIKE indicates that the proposed regulations will lead to the discrimination of cable operators, their clients and technology, and asks the president of UKE to call for a sound analysis of the effects of regulation and to give up far-reaching and harmful solutions for the market and consumers”.
As previously reported by Broadband TV News, UKE launched its consulation in January this year.
The proposals would affect Netia, UPC Polska, Multimedia Polska, Vectra Investments, Inea and Toya.