German cable homes facing price hikes
Jörn Krieger

German cable association Fachverband Rundfunkempfangs- und Kabelanlagen (FRK) fears a significant increase in cable fees from 2010.

Their worry is over cable company PrimaCom and whether it will fail to succeed in its action lodged at telecommunications regulatory authority Bundesnetzagentur against Kabel Deutschland (KDG) for misuse regarding signal delivery.

"Prices for signal delivery through KDG could rise by up to 50 per cent", said FRK vice-chairman Heinz-Peter Labonte in Frankfurt. "Experience with price increases in 2002 makes us fear the worst."

According to Labonte, of the approximately 180 FRK members, which together supply around 2.5 million households with cable television, approximately 40 to 45 per cent receive their signals from network level 3 pre-suppliers such as KDG, meaning that around a million households could be affected.

"As a consequence, this will threaten the existence of many small independent cable operators", warned Labonte, who said that FRK had therefore requested in a letter to Bundesnetzagentur to be invited to the watchdog's hearings in order to draw attention to the negative consequences for competition, customers and renters.

PrimaCom considers the wholesale signal supply price charged by KDG to be too high. The regulatory authority is expected to make a decision on the matter by 28 December.