OPTA confirms plans to open Dutch cablenets

The Dutch independent post and telecommunications authority OPTA is pressing ahead with plans to open up the country’s cablenets to third parties. The authority is ordering the two largest companies, Ziggo and UPC, to make it possible for alternative providers to offer their own packages over the cable networks. The analogue cable networks must also be opened up for resale, however in this case the new entrants must strike their own deals with the programme providers. OPTA believes its actions will force down prices for the consumer.

The plans are put forward as part of an analysis of the Dutch broadcasting market. OPTA says that despite the emergence of the Digitenne DTT platform, IPTV and satellite, Ziggo and UPC still have a market share of 81%. It does not believe that the situation will change without market intervention, particularly given the increasing number of consumers choosing triple play bundles from a single operator.

In order to stimulate the market, and encourage investment in the their cable systems, OPTA will not permit UPC or Ziggo to invest in each others networks.
Stakeholders now have until September 29 to make their views known. OPTA hopes to have the new regulations in place by January 1, 2009.