Commission raises concerns about Belgian proposals to regulate broadcasting and broadband

The Commission has outlined to the Belgian audiovisual and telecoms regulators that it has concerns about their plans to regulate broadcasting services and broadband access in Belgium.

The regulators consider that each of the Belgian cable operators has significant market power in the broadcasting markets corresponding to their network area. The regulators want to impose on these cable operators an obligation to offer to resell their analogue TV programming, to provide access to their digital TV platform and to resell their broadband internet products to other alternative broadcasting operators.  

In relation to broadband, the largest network operator, Belgacom, is found to have significant market power on both the wholesale infrastructure and broadband access markets. As a result of the Commission’s proposed regulation, Belgacom would be obliged to grant access to its network and provide a multicast service to alternative operators, which should, for instance, assist these operators to provide IPTV (television over the internet) on Belgacom's broadband network.  

The Commission expressed a number of concerns regarding the proposals. These include a suggestion that the Belgian regulators look more closely at the competitive conditions in the relevant markets and the proportionality of the proposed measures, together with considering developing trends and market developments (for example, the need to ensure access to offers over next generation fibre networks is not prevented).