The cable industry must move fast if it is to compete effectively with
BSkyB’s plans to launch digital TV in the UK next autumn, the science
and technology minister, Ian Taylor, said in the opening address at the
European Cable Convention this week.
‘All key decisions on digital - strategies and partnerships - are being
made now,’ he told delegates. ‘There is no point cable companies
thinking about digital in 1998 or 1999. They must prepare for it now.’
Taylor praised the UK cable industry’s achievements so far. In the past
year alone, cable revenues have more than doubled to over pounds 1
billion; a further pounds 1.8 billion has been invested in the cable
infrastructure and more homes continue to be connected - a further two
million were passed in the last 12 months, bringing the total to around
He went on to pledge that, should the Conservatives win a general
election next year, they would work to encourage the continued growth of
cable in the UK.
‘This Government wants to ensure a stable regulatory environment to
underpin further investment,’ he said, adding that no regulatory charges
under a Conservative government were expected before 2001.
Taylor’s concerns about digital were echoed by subsequent speakers from
the cable industry who underlined the need for cable operators to match
the choice promised by digital satellite TV.
The Telecommunications International Inc president and chief operating
officer, Adam Singer, said: ‘When digital launches we must be in a
position to carry all of it.’