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Spanish Operators Lobby for Telefónica Delay

6/28/1998 8:00 PM Eastern

Madrid, Spain -- The Cable Operators Association trade
group, formed recently in Spain, will lobby regulators at the Ministry of Development for
an additional eight-month delay before telco Telefónica de España S.A. can enter the
cable-systems business.

The request for the delay is the most dramatic of several
regulatory changes that the COA will lobby for in an effort to try to reinforce the
position of Spain's private players against Telefónica.

As the rules now stand, Telefónica cannot enter the cable
business in Spain for another 16 months, but COA members would like to see that increased
to 24 months. Once Telefónica is let into cable, it will be able to compete against the
winners of Spain's cable franchises, most of which are now represented through the
COA.

Moreover, the COA will ask the ministry to allow private
cable operators to use the infrastructure owned by Telefónica, which will also be used by
Telefónica's affiliated company, Telefónica Cable, to provide cable services.

The news of the COA's planned lobbying efforts came
out of its first conference, where attendees said the group's mandate to reflect the
Spanish cable industry's new structure represents a new phase in the industry's
evolution.

"The future begins today," said Luis Rodríguez,
president of the COA. "Before the COA was created, cable was an orphan."

"Being together, cable operators will be stronger. We
need to gather efforts to protect our common interests and to establish an efficient flow
with the regulatory bodies," added Victoriano Reinoso, general manager of CyC, a
founding member of the COA.

The COA's membership has grown since the creation of
the association, and it now includes licenses covering 8.3 million households.

Several other cable consortiums, covering another 2.3
million households, are also expected to join. If they do, the COA's members will
collectively have licenses passing about 10.6 million of Spain's 17 million homes.

Spanish cable-industry analysts predicted that having a
common platform for cable operators through the COA will help the sector to overcome
regulatory issues that have hindered the industry and held back its construction pace.

 

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