Archive for December, 2012

EC: new broadband state aid guidelines

Hot on the heels of announcing that it would make faster broadband its top digital priority in 2013, the European Commission has adopted revised guidelines for the application of EU state aid rules to the broadband sector.

These guidelines will help Member States achieve the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda. Taking into account the extensive submissions from all stakeholders, they contain in particular a reinforcement of open access obligations and improved transparency rules. They also follow the principles of the Commission’s State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative, which aims at facilitating well-designed aid targeted at market failures in order to achieve growth-enhancing priorities, while simplifying the rules to allow for faster decisions.

Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said that to achieve the ambitious goals of the Digital Agenda in promoting very fast broadband connections throughout the EU, the EC needed to achieve the right mix between public and private investment, while building a pro-competitive environment. “These new rules will allow for well-designed public interventions targeted at market failures and ensure open access to state funded infrastructure,” he stated.

The changes are based on a two-staged public consultation and an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders (Member States, national telecoms regulators, aid granting authorities, telecommunications operators, business associations, consumer associations and citizens).

Broadband, copyright regulation updates among EC priorities

The creation of a new and stable broadband regulatory environment and updating the EU’s copyright framework are among a digital ‘to-do’ list adopted by the European Commission as new digital priorities for 2013-2014

The Commission has set out seven new priorities for the digital economy and society. According to the EC, the digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. The priorities announced by the EC follow a comprehensive policy review and place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe.

According to European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, 2013 will be the busiest year yet for the Digital Agenda. “My top priorities are to increase broadband investment and to maximise the digital sector’s contribution to Europe’s recovery,” she stated.

The Commission’s reports that full implementation of this updated Digital Agenda would increase European GDP by 5 per cent, or €1,500 per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving eSkills levels in the labour force, enabling public sector innovation, and reforming the framework conditions for the Internet economy. In terms of jobs, up to one million digital jobs risk going unfilled by 2015 without pan-European action while 1.2 million jobs could be created through infrastructure construction. This would rise to 3.8 million new jobs throughout the economy in the long term.

The new priorities are:

1. Create a new and stable broadband regulatory environment

More private investment is needed in high speed fixed and mobile broadband networks. The Commission’s top digital priority for 2013 is therefore finalising a new and stable broadband regulatory environment. A package of ten actions in 2013 will include Recommendations on stronger non-discriminatory network access and new costing methodology for wholesale access to broadband networks, net neutrality, universal service and mechanisms for reducing the civil engineering costs of broadband roll-out. This will build on new Broadband State Aid Guidelines and the proposed Connecting Europe Facility loans.


Announcing the Cable Congress 2013 initial speaker line-up

December is here – we are officially in the run-up to Christmas!

Before the holiday rush reaches fever pitch, now would be a good time to secure your delegate experience at Cable Congress 2013. Taking place on 5-7 March at the Lancaster Hotel in London, the event brings together top executives from the cable, technology, content and new media industries.
The agenda is shaping up nicely, with a few new features and discussion points. We’re pleased to welcome a C-Suite-rich set of industry leaders confirmed to speak, including:  

  • Rosalia Portela, CEO, ONO
  • Lorenz Glatz, CTO, KDG
  • Dan Hennessy, CTO, Virgin Media
  • Dana Strong, CEO, UPC Ireland
  • Manuel  Cubero, COO, Kabel Deutschland Holding AG
  • Balan Nair, CTO, LGI
  • Paul Hendriks, CTO, Ziggo
  • Luis  Lopes, COO, ZON
  • Luc Martens, CEO, Excentis
  • Marisa Drew, MD, Global Co-Head of Global Markets Solutions Group, Credit Suisse
  • Wim De Ketelaere, CTO, Excentis
  • Martin Kull, CEO, Vestacon
  • Annet Aris, Board KDG, Sanoma, Adjunct Prof., INSEAD
  • John Hahn, MD, Providence Equity LLP
  • Svein Erik Davidsen, VP & Head of Content Acquisition, Telenor Broadcast Holding
  • Martin Kull, CEO, Vestacon
  • Todd Brown, Chief Revenue Officer, Yap TV
  • Stuart Sikes, President, Parks Associates
  • Guy Bisson, Research Director, Television, Screen Digest

Get an advance copy of the conference agenda here 


Cable Congress is more than just a conference. Online networking, networking breaks, special networking zones and the Gala Party give you the opportunity to meet everyone who is important to your business. View the attendance statistics and demographics here.

The exhibition features some of the world’s most significant solutions and technology providers: a chance for you to see, touch and try the latest products to hit to the market.

The Cable Europe Team

Cable Congress eBook: Trends Impacting Global Broadband Markets

The global marketplace for broadband services is dynamic and growing

At the end of 2011, approximately 660 million households subscribed to an Internet service, and about 580 million, 32% of all global households, received broadband service. The populous countries in Western Europe have high broadband penetration – but predictably, they are showing signs of slowing growth.

  • Germany is Western Europe’s largest broadband market with over 26 million homes subscribing to broadband services.
  • France has over 22 million broadband subscribers. The growth of broadband in France can be credited to a greater demand for high-bandwidth applications, the growth of fiber-based services, and governmental actions to promote broadband growth.
  • Broadband penetration among U.K. homes was 74% at the end of 2011.
  • The global recession and Italy’s lagging economy have had a significant and negative effect on Italy’s telecom sector. By 2011, approximately one-half of Italian homes subscribed to broadband service.
  • Broadband penetration in Spain grew to 65% of households by the end of 2011.


Market Saturation
In many Western European countries, operators feel the squeeze of market saturation as household penetration rates for broadband approach or exceed 75%. In these markets, where most new additions are at the expense of other broadband providers, operators focus on retention strategies that incorporate benefits beyond mere price reductions.

These providers have initiated bundling to lure and keep customers, focusing on deploying services with an eye towards capturing customers and maximizing the ARPU that broadband services offer.

Trends Impacting Global Broadband Markets

  • Saturation & shrinking of DSL services in mature markets
  • Impact of PC adoption on broadband growth in emerging markets
  • Growth of usage-based business models
  • Growth of wireless broadband
  • Emergence of cloud-based services

The Shrinking of DSL in Mature Markets
DSLbased services are often the quickest to reach consumers since they rely on copper phone lines that are already installed in many homes. However, the growth of DOCSIS 3.0-based cable services and fiber-based services in mature markets is leading to a rapid transition of power among operators. Incumbents that have held power for years are finding a dwindling DSL subscriber base. This loss of subscribers is forcing many to invest in FTTx services in order to compete with cable operators.

The Critical Importance of PC Adoption
Emerging countries considering technology or broadband growth initiatives should include programs for computer adoption as a facet of their future growth plans in order to quickly move their population forward.


Swiss cable further ahead on digitisation

Swiss cable further ahead on digitisation

Cable networks in Switzerland have grown the number of digital connections in the country by 25% over the last 12 months. Trade association Swiss Cable says that as of the end of September 2012 there were 1,270,000 households on digital TV.

Claudia Bolla Vincenz, Managing Director of Swiss Cable, said: “In light of the intense competition in the field of digital television, the growth of cable networks is considerable. In addition to digital TV cable internet has put on 69,400 customers and cable telephony 80,100 customers.”

The combined Swiss networks have added 700,000 customers over the last three years compared to 540,000 by the IPTV rival Swisscom. Cable has added 255,300 subscribers over the last year alone.

Source: Broadband TV News By Julian Clover

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