Telekom to spin off cable

BERLIN — German telco Deutsche Telekom will spin off its cable TV activities next year and may sell stakes in the new subsidiary to private investors.

“A gradual regionalization of activities is conceivable. Another option is to sell off shares by taking on strategic investors,” Telekom said in a statement last week.

Telekom is responding to pressure from the European Commission, which takes a critical view of Telekom’s domination of the telephone and cable TV systems in Germany. Telekom is in the process of privatization and is preparing for the opening of the European telecommunications markets in 1998.

Of Germany’s 17 million cable households, around 6 million are serviced directly by Telekom. But Telekom controls the main cable TV network which delivers signals to smaller cable companies in Germany.

Together with media giants CLT-UFA and the Kirch Group, Telekom agreed to create a technical platform for digital cable TV last summer.

Digital pay TV webs Premiere and DF1 have been available to Telekom’s cable customers in some parts of Germany since the start of November, but the European Commission has yet to approve the digital TV joint venture.

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