EC must reject anachronistic Dutch market analysis

Broadband cable trade body Cable Europe is urging the European Commission not to accept Dutch regulator ACM’s draft broadband market analysis, which has concluded that multiplay operator VodafoneZiggo holds “joint significant market power (SMP)” together with Dutch incumbent operator KPN.

As a direct consequence, both operators will have to provide wholesale access to third parties. The analysis now rests with the European Commission, which has the power to accept or reject the proposed measures.

“This proposed intervention in the Dutch market is anachronistic and runs contrary to the consumer interest,” stated Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman of Cable Europe. “My first reaction is one of astonishment. The Dutch market is highly competitive and is often cited as best in class by international observers. It scores high on the Commission Digital Economy and Society Index. Consumers have the choice between two very fast broadband services practically everywhere in the country. The market is extremely dynamic and characterised by innovation, quality of service and affordable prices and there is a commercial wholesale access offer in the market (KPN).”

“Imposing onerous regulation using the concept of joint SMP in a market with these characteristics will set a negative precedent in Europe. Regulatory intervention comes with risks which are often difficult to gauge in advance. The negative consequences of this proposed regulation will outweigh any marginal improvements the regulator is seeking to achieve. I hope the Commission will examine this analysis with great care and conclude that the Dutch market and its citizens already benefit from effective competition,” he added.

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Research: US broadband subs surpass pay-TV

According to the latest findings from specialist broadband, media and entertainment industries analyst firm Leichtman Research Group (LRG) the fourteen largest cable and telephone providers in the US – representing about 95 per cent of the market – acquired about 960,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in Q1 2017.

These top broadband providers now account for 93.9 million subscribers – with top cable companies having 59.4 million broadband subscribers, and top telephone companies having 34.5 million subscribers.

Findings for the quarter include:

Overall, broadband additions in Q1 2017 were 85 per cent of those in Q1 2016
The top cable companies added about 1,000,000 subscribers in Q1 2017 – 90 per cent of the net additions for the top cable companies in Q1 2016

The top telephone companies lost about 45,000 subscribers in Q1 2017 – compared to a gain of about 10,000 broadband subscribers in Q1 2016

Telco providers have had net broadband losses in seven of the past eight quarters
Over the past year, there were about 2,530,000 net broadband adds — compared to about 3,035,000 over the prior year

“With the addition of nearly one million subscribers in the quarter, the top cable and telco broadband providers in the US cumulatively now account for over 93.9 million subscribers in the US,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. “In the first quarter of 2017, the number of broadband subscribers surpassed the number of pay-TV subscribers in the US.”

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