Dutch cable company under scrutiny for extra fees

25th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Recent activities may signal the end to 'net neutrality' and effective competition, according to reports.

The Hague – Recently announced bandwidth and competition policies have put Dutch cable company and internet service provider UPC in the spotlight.

The company has proposed a bandwidth system that would restrict non-HTTP protocols by two-thirds during peak hours (for example, restricting audio and video downloads).

Even some websites that do use HTTP will be restricted if they take up too much bandwidth, reports v3.co.uk.

The new system has not been finalised and would be completed in the coming weeks, a company spokeswoman told the technology information portal.

In addition to bandwidth policy changes, UPC, along with other incumbent providers, intends to charge new entrants to the cable market an noncompetitive fee to use its existing network, according to several media reports.

Cable companies such as UPC and Ziggo have announced fee upwards of EUR 11 per connection to new cable companies such as Tele2 which offer services over their existing network, according to the Financieele Dagblad.

The ministry of economic affairs determined there is no viable business case for new companies charged more than EUR 4.50 per connection.

OPTA, a telecom watchdog, said a fair playing field for cable television providers “would give consumers more choice.”

UPC and Ziggo currently account for 85 percent of the cable TV market.

In 2008, OPTA found that although customers have the option of using cable, satellite, or Digitenne internet television (IP TV) to receive television signal, cable was the most viable choice for consumers.

The alternatives to cable “have so far failed to ensure that cable operators lower their prices or more channels were offered without additional fees,” the organisation said on its website.

Cable companies claimed their fee calculations are based on Opta's own method, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

Jennifer Evans / Expatica

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