Cable ready to deliver the Digital Single Market

Cable ready to deliver the Digital Single Market
28/06/2016 Muriel Hirschfeld

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(Warsaw, 28 June 2016) The cable industry welcomes the ambition of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy. Forward-looking strategies are a positive sign and an opportunity for the sector as a whole. Cable operators are prepared and have the technology to deliver on those ambitions, said Cable Europe Managing Director Caroline van Weede.

Van Weede participated in a panel discussion on the Digital Single Market during the first day of Cable Congress 2016 in Warsaw. Despite acknowledging the EU’s good intentions, she added regulatory intervention at EU level can have unintended consequences. Van Weede’s example was the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)’s interpretation of the recent Net Neutrality rules. While the legislative text leaves more leeway to operators, BEREC takes the view that practices like zero rating should not be allowed. BEREC’s interpretations, Van Weede claimed, will force providers to “test the waters” every time they introduce a new commercial offer, which will impact the industry and consumers alike.

Andrea Huber, from the German cable association ANGA, took a similar stance claiming government intervention should not be overly prescriptive. Regulation should not favour one access technology to another, or stifle the potential for innovation.

Van Weede said competition with Over-the-top services (OTTs) triggers the cable industry’s own innovation potential. Quoting figures released today, she noted cable providers can be as successful as emerging players. Huber agreed OTTs push traditional industries to do better. In this context, though, a new regulatory approach is needed to ensure that emerging players are subject to the same rules as incumbents. Substitute services need to be regulated in the same way as their competitors, she stated.

Brexit was naturally mentioned as a potentially disruptive development. Moderator Georg Serentschy, Senior Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs, noted that the UK has been very important for media production and distribution, and a frontrunner when it comes to regulation of the sector. Caroline Van Weede agreed the possibility of the UK leaving the EU cast a cloud over the Single Market project, but added “with loss come opportunities”. She hopes the European Commission will see the DSM as one such opportunity.

Cable Congress 2016 is taking place in Warsaw from Tuesday 28 June until Thursday 30 June. Today’s opening day is focusing on disruption, followed by day 2 on innovation and the final day on action. Please visit www.cablecongress.com for the latest updates, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow the conversation live using #cablecongress.

For more information, please contact:

Virginia Lee
Cable Europe
Director of Communications
T: +32 2 556 21-02
E: virginia.lee@cable-europe.eu