Expatica news

Telenet subscribers face cable tuner shortage

7 September 2005

BRUSSELS — Just several days after the launch of interactive, digital television, Telenet is already facing a shortage of cable tuners.

The appliances, which are on ‘sale’ for EUR 49, allow viewers to regain the eight channels from their cable selection which were scrapped when digital TV was launched on Saturday.

Telenet has since said the EUR 49 is a guarantee: anyone who returns the tuner (even after 30 years) will be repaid the money.

The scrapping of television stations such as BBC World, CNN and Arte was considered necessary to launch Telenet Digital TV.

Two-thirds of Flemish TV viewers lost the eight stations. Only those who switched to digital TV retained them.

However, nothing changed for viewers in Limburg and parts of Antwerp, West Flanders and Flemish Brabant because Telenet is not operating in those regions.

Telenet said it was forced to scrap the eight channels because of insufficient capacity to broadcast both analogue and digital television.

Subscribers who opted to retain analogue services could buy a cable tuner to keep the eight disappearing channels.

However, many shopkeepers have been forced to wait for the first cable tuners. Many also complain that they were supplied with too few and have exhausted their stocks already.

Various shops have had to draw up waiting lists to assist clients. They claim that Telenet clearly underestimated the demand for cable tuners, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Wednesday.

Telenet is aware of the shortage, but said it is not to blame. It said one of its suppliers in East Germany was facing difficulties due to poor weather conditions. Telenet hopes to have resolved the issue by next week.

The scrapping of eight channels in the switch to digital television was highly controversial, due also to the fact that Telenet did not reduce the price of its current analogue subscription service.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Freya van den Bossche has launched an investigation into the matter, the results of which are expected in the near future.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news