Regulator publishes final version of its Open Cable rules

11 Mar 2010

Dutch national regulator the Independent Post Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) has released its final version of the Open Cable rules and pricing applicable to the country’s major cable operators Ziggo and UPC Nederland, Broadband TVNews reports. Under the OPTA’s new regime, both cablecos will be required to to make their networks available to third-party resellers within a twelve-week period for any subscriber currently taking only an analogue service. The decision is a relaxation of the regulator’s original stipulation that access must be afforded within eight weeks and comes after a volley of complaints from the operators themselves. In addition, Dutch cable users wishing to sign up to either dual- or triple-play bundles has been extended from 28 to 35 weeks. As such, Ziggo and UPC’s analogue customers must wait until June 2010 (basic TV) and November 2010 (multi-play) before they can switch provider.

The watchdog has also published its basic wholesale pricing for cable access, setting a monthly fee of EUR8.83 (USD12.02) for UPC Nederland and EUR8.45 for Ziggo. It went on to confirm that any market entrants will also be required to pay a EUR30,000 fee to the operator to launch their service. Although OPTA’s announcement marks a leap forward in terms of Open Cable regulation, a number of issues remain as outstanding. The two cablecos, and indeed a number of newcomers, have complained that the regulator’s market analysis (published March 2009), which forms the basis of the Open Cable regulation proposals, is flawed and proceedings are scheduled to hear their case at the Dutch trade court on 18 March.