Meet the speaker: Matthias Kurth of Cable Europe

Matthias KurthMatthias Kurth joined Cable Europe in October 2012 as Executive Chairman. Mr. Kurth sits on Cable Europe’s Executive Committee which has oversight of the cable industry’s main representational duties in Europe. Matthias lastly held the position of President of the German Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), the authority for telecommunications, postal, energy and railway markets in Germany, including frequency management and digital signature. He played an instrumental role in the liberalization of the German energy market and left behind notable achievements with respect to competition in the telecommunications market. Matthias also served as Chairman of the European Regulators Group (ERG) in 2009 to increase regulatory cooperation at the EU level.

Matthias will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14 March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.

In your view, what were some of the biggest highlights for the industry since we last gathered for Cable Congress in London?

Matthias Kurth: In 2013 cable really showed what its networks could do for consumers in Europe. Cable’s massive investment over the years in broadband infrastructure has given operators a huge technology advantage that is now delivering on its potential. The upgrade of cable broadband speeds in commercial offers in Europe to 200 Mbps and even 500 Mbps in some markets is one key example. By combining its speed advantage with new service platforms and the inclusion of over the top, cable is affirming that it delivers the best value to the European consumer.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges that should be driving cable’s priorities in 2014?

MK: This is a dynamic industry with an incredibly high level of competition between legacy players and new entrants, which is pushing the entire industry to keep up the pace of innovation and stay close to the customer. Fulfilling the customer’s growing and evolving needs and simplifying the use of platforms and services will remain a challenging factor for cable. If cable makes full use of the positive relationships it has with its clients, the industry will have the best, customer-focused perspectives and therefore be best positioned to keep growing in this highly competitive market.

2013 was a year of deal-making. What are the prospects for further consolidation and how could this stimulate industry growth?

MK: It’s true that there were a number of notable deals announced in 2013. Yet Europe’s cable landscape remains highly fragmented. Consolidation in such a disjointed market offers a chance to make better use of economies of scale and generates efficiencies so that more can be invested in infrastructure, products and services for end-users. Premium content – which is already experiencing high demand from customers – is getting more and more expensive, and carriers need a good market position for negotiations.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes started a debate last year about the “Connected Continent” and creating a single market for broadband providers. What role does cable play in connecting Europe?

MK: When it comes to high speed broadband over 30 Mbps, cable has already connected the content better than other carriers. As an important investor in broadband infrastructure, we support the Commission in advocating for a more investment-friendly approach in the broadband market. Still, some topics in the proposals are controversial and the outcome is not yet clear.

Cable Congress in 2014 will focus on cable’s flourishing future – in your view what does that future look like and what will it take to get there?

MK: To predict the future is always difficult. What is for certain is that our industry has to face constant and dynamic change. If we learned the right lessons from the past – that we have to be ahead of our competitors when it comes to innovation and investment, then we are well prepared for the future.

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