October 13, 1997Crew levels an area to pour a slab for a new tool shed.
Czech DTH operator Skylink has added Sony’s male-skewed channel AXN to its line-up.The channel, which airs programmes including CSI: New York and NCIS, is available in Skylink’s Mini, Multi, Kombi, Multi HD, Komplet and Flexi 7 packages.The operator has also added music channel Retro Music Television to its Digital package. The channel broadcasts music from the 1960s to the 1990s.
News channel France 24 has launched on Virgin Media in the UK, with both English and French language versions available. The English feed will take slot number 624 on the EPG and the French version can be found at 832. Both will be available to subscribers of Virgin’s M+ channel subscription package.France 24 now claims to reach 206 million homes across five continents with an Arabic version also available in selected markets.
Matthias KurthEurope needs a “rational” net neutrality regime and a US-type promotion of very strict rules would not benefit consumers, according to cable industry body Cable Europe.Opening the Cable Congress in Brussels this morning, Cable Europe president Manuel Konstamm called for a “market-led solution” to net neutrality.Executive chairman Matthias Kurth told attendees that he hoped “Europe would have a more rational approach” than the US, although the European parliament is divided on the issue. He said European operators hoped to avoid anything similar to the Title II regulations imposed on US operators by the FCC.Speaking at the Cable Congress press conference earlier, Kurth said that “no-one in our industry is against the open internet” but that “we also want the issue to be seen in a way that still makes innovation possible”. He said that the introduction of new services would require “some special treatment”.Kurth said that he hoped Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and other policy makers would take a “rational” view and described the introduction of strick net neutrality rules in the US as not helpful.Kurth said that Cable Europe is working to ensure its input into changes that will be introduced by the new Commission.Kurth said he hoped there would be “fair competition” with OTT players with a level playing field. “Everyone uses WhatsApp but we still go on regulating SMS prices, which doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I think the Commission is looking in this direction.”Kurth said that cable had invested significantly in broadband infrastructure. There is a great supply of liquidity for broadband investment, he said. “We don’t need subsidies, but if there is a discussion on this, it should clearly be limited to areas where there is no feasible economically viable business case [for commercial investment],” he said. “It also has to be [for] a mix of technologies.Fibre is not the solution everywhere. We have seen that cable has a lot of potential, especially when coax is used for the last metres to the home in a hybrid connection.” He said this type of hybrid connection using existing coax is much more economic than bringing fibre to every home.Addressing Congress attendees after the press conference, Kurth reiterated that public money should be “limited to rural areas” and should be “technology-neutral”.The ability to port content rights across borders is clearly something European consumers want, said Kurth. He said he hoped rights societies would take a helpful view.“Accessing content across countries on different devices is something where you can show there is actually a single market,” he said. Kurth said one issue was there are so many organisations handling rights that distributors have to deal with that it complicates investment plans.Kohnstamm said that European consumers are not happy about geo-blocking of VoD services between countries and a growing number of providers were providing pan-European services.
French media regulator the CSA has delivered a favourable opinion – with caveats – on the freeing up of spectrum in the 700MHz band for mobile broadband applications.The CSA said that the reallocation of frequencies necessary to free up 700MHz spectrum would require changes of encoding standard to enable TV services to fit in six multiplexes instead of eight. It said that there would need to be a contribution to the cost, at least in part, of meeting this change, and of compensating existing distributors for the disappearance of the two muxes.The CSA said that there would also be a need to support local authorities that had to bear the cost of adjusting local transmitters.Finally, the CSA said that the changeover, envisaged for next April, would require a high degree of reliability and security and highlighted the extremely challenging nature of the plan to complete the process in a single night – that of April 5. The changeover will involve a move to MPEG-4, the re-composition of the muxes, a firsty stage of shutting down broadcasts in the 700MHz band and simultaneous realignment of frequencies across a large zone including the Paris region, and the deployment of the R7 multiple in the Rhône-Alpes region.The regulator recommended breaking up the process into different stages, with the re-composition of muxes and coding changes decoupled from the realighment necessary to free up the 700M