Dutch tribunal reverses OPTA ‘Open Cable’ ruling

19 Aug 2010

The Netherlands’ College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven – CBb (Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal) has reversed the national telecoms regulator OPTA’s market analysis from March 2009 – covering markets for wholesale radio and TV transmission over the networks of UPC Netherlands, Zesko Holding (Ziggo,) Delta and CAIW – that required the country’s leading cablecos to resell analogue TV packages to their competitors. The CBd decision on so-called ‘Open Cable’ networks will have a wide-reaching impact on the market as third parties will no longer be able to sell products from the cable operators. Ziggo and UPC initiated the appeal case, on the basis they disagreed they should have to open up their analogue networks to resellers as the market is already highly competitive and well served by a number of different infrastructure providers. The tribunal, which is also known as the Administrative High Court for Trade and Industry, has upheld this position. The news will come as a body blow to Tele2 Nederland which has already started marketing analogue cable products. Other firms that could potentially be affected by the ban on reselling include Deutsche Telekom unit Online NL, YouCa and YourTV.

In the wake of the announcement UPC issued an e-mail statement which read: ‘This decision on the broadcasting market, including analogue resale obligation, shows that the Dutch national television market there is already showing very strong competition. On this market, KPN, Canal Digital, Tele2 and cable providers – including UPC and Ziggo – are active. Competition between multiple communication infrastructures ensures technological innovation, digitisation and a wide choice for consumers.’