Pubcasters handed decoder win

Europe’s pubcasters won a major victory last week in their dispute with pay TV operators such as BSkyB and Canal Plus over whether the latter should be allowed to have monopoly control over digital decoders.

The European Parliament agreed June 13 in Strasbourg to add an amendment to a proposal designed to pave the way for the introduction of digital TV in Europe.

It stated that operators of conditional access services like Canal Plus and BSkyB have to give all broadcasters access to their decoders “on a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis.”

The Parliament also added an amendment requiring BSkyB and Canal Plus to keep separate accounts for their conditional access activities.

Both amendments were approved by the EU telecoms council, which met in Luxembourg on the same day.

The EU’s move was welcomed by pubcasters as good news for consumers.

“The text is a major improvement on the common position because it guarantees that every major pubcaster will have a fair chance to compete in this market and that it will definitely open up the market,” said Matteo Maggiore of the BBC.

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