German consumer union opposes proprietary middleware

By Robert Briel | January 7, 2009 | 08:19 UK

The German consumer union Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. opposes proprietary middleware as they are now implemented by cable operators in the country. Speaking to the online publication Digital Fernsehen, spokesperson Michael Bobrowski said the practice of the cablers is not compatible with the law.
“At the moment [German] cable operators use different middleware solutions, which result in significant disadvantages for the consumers, particularly of a financial nature. They have to make unnecessary investments. The current practice of cable operators, moreover, with its quasi-monopoly position in regional and local cable broadcasting, is according to the consumer union contrary to the relevant telecommunications and broadcasting laws, which call for non-discriminatory access.” The consumer union supports a wide-ranging interoperability.
The union does not support any particular middleware or conditional access system. “The Union will not support a particular special software, we will limit ourselves to formulating the basic demands with a reasonable cost-benefit ratio. A number of years ago we expressed support for the use of MHP, but given the rapid pace of technology development in this market, we will not make similar recommendations,” said Bobrowski to Digital Fernsehen.