Discussion Papers

Martin Distelkamp

Wettbewerbspotenziale der deutschen Kabel-TV-Infrastruktur
Nr. 203 / Mai 2000

Summary

In this discussion paper, the potential for competition of CATV infrastructure on markets for communication-services, especially in the local loop will be analysed. In terms of the market penetration rates, cable TV infrastructure provider (CATV infrastructure) in Germany, rank with a proportion of approximately 60% of all households connected to such a network, internationally on a top place.

However, is the adaptation of the CATV infrastructure in many countries more advanced than in Germany. Examples are the United States and the Netherlands. Main reasons for the restrained development in Germany are in particular:

  1. The "joint-ownership" of the CATV networks and the classical telecommunication networks by the Deutsche Telekom AG.

  2. The structural separation of different parts of the networks e.g. the so called network level 3 and network level 4, which is based on political decisions in the 1980s.

Technical possibilities of supplying interactive services (especially fast internet access and fixed telephony) via the CATV infrastructure has been tested by international and German providers of technical components and CATV infrastructure providers. Beside field trials or pilot schemes, some regular market applications has been carried out.

Even if the technical realisation of a Full Service Network on the basis of the CATV infrastructure nowadays seems possible, the economical conditions of the decision for an adaptation bears still some uncertainties. The most important ones are as follows:

the high sensitivity on penetration of the costs,

the competition with other broadband access technologies (e.g. ADSL, Powerline),

the necessary co-ordination between the different actors on the markets. Especially the CATV providers on the different parts of the infrastructure, the suppliers of content and the building owners want to participate in the prospective added value.

Nevertheless, there are some indicators, that there is a "window of opportunity" for this technical solution at the moment. Especially the forecasts of experts about demand forecasts of the service internet access gives some indication for this.

Significant for the development in the future to offer communication services via the CATV infrastructure in Germany, is in particular the progress of the actually ongoing sale talks between the Deutsche Telekom and potential investors about the regionalised CATV-networks. Beside these impetus, the experiences of the CATV providers, making first steps into the network adaptation, will determine the prospective market development.

Only German language version available.

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