Altice Portugal to challenge DTT price reduction
January 30, 2019
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Altice Portugal will challenge the decision from the National Communications Authority (Anacom) to force the company to reduce the prices it charges for DTT distribution by 15.16 per cent.
According to the operator, Anacom’s decision “has deepened the framework of legal uncertainty and of regulatory breach that have marked the DTT project, seriously compromising the sustainability of the service”. It identifies the “lack of the fifth TV channel” and other decisions of the regulator as factors of the “legal uncertainty framework” that have forced the company to make additional investments “without any compensation”.
Altice Portugal claims that, since the beginning of the DTT project, it has been faced with negative profit margins, “making incomprehensible the regulator’s decision to reduce prices, when Altice Portugal already agreed with TV operators a reduction in at the end of 2016”.
The company said it will challenge the decision in court and “request the compensation that it considers to be entitled for the damages caused by successive unilateral amendments of the contract by Anacom”. Alternatively, it will appeal to an Arbitration Tribunal, which “would allow a quicker final ruling that is delivered by independent referees and familiar with the subject”.
Altice Portugal said it has no “alternatives” because “it considers that this price reduction lacks legal, technical and economic basics” and puts into question “the future of DTT” in Portugal.
In its response, Anacom reiterated that “the prices currently in force, which were agreed between the company and the TV operators, exceed the price limit presented in the winning bid on the public tender”. The regulator also recalls that the decision on the price cut was taken after a prior hearing of the interested parties and a public consultation.