UPC Wins One, Loses One

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A Dutch regulator has come out in favor of European programming heavyweight Canal Plus in its dispute with Amsterdam-based cable operator A2000.

The decision from the Independent Postal and Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) is Canal Plus' first win over cable operators in the Netherlands, from whom it leases capacity to distribute its two premium channels.

The ruling also forces the United Pan-Europe Communications-owned system to provide digital distribution for the Canal Plus channels, and allows the programmer to use its own MediaGuard set top boxes.

OPTA will also force A2000 to reduce the annual fees that it charges Canal Plus for carriage from about 2.1 million guilders ($861,000) to 1.4 million guilders ($574,000).

In other UPC-related news, the company announced last week that its pending deal to acquire a 49 percent interest in Lyonnaise Câble has fallen through.

In a prepared statement, UPC said it could not reach agreement with Suez Lyonnaise, owner of the French system, "in relation to a number of important strategic and operational issues relating to the future of Lyonnaise Câble."

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