BERLIN — Regional cabler Ish has named former RTL topper Helmut Thoma chairman of its five-member advisory board.

Company also appointed former Deutsche Telekom manager Franz Arnold to the board. Arnold spearheaded the sale of Telekom’s nationwide cable assets through 2002.

U.S. cabler Callahan acquired the telco’s assets in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for $2 billion in 2000 but went bankrupt last year. Ish, formerly Callahan’s core division in the region, is now under the control of creditor banks.

Ish managing director James Bonsall described Thoma and Arnold’s appointments as “excellent reinforcements for us.”

Thoma added that the German cable market was entering a “decisive phase” and called Ish one of the sector’s leading companies.

Ish serves 4.2 million cable households in the state; 1.1 million homes in urban areas including Cologne and Dusseldorf have already been upgraded, allowing high-speed Internet access and other digital technologies.

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Thoma also is advisory board chairman for Munich-based film producer Cinerenta and supervisory board chairman of Cologne TV production outfit Typhoon Networks.