Thursday, August 17, 2006

Haarlem reshuffle

Damn, this Dutch broadband market is getting so interesting, it may justify a spin-off blog. First, it would appear that FTTH pioneer Lijbrandt is in negotiations with the city of Haarlem, presumably over the prohibitive EUR22 per meter repaving charge which Lijbrandt has previously cited as a disincentive to investment. One city alderman describes himself as "overjoyed" with the prospect of a Lijbrandt network, and one respondent in the comments section states, "It's the least the Municipality can do to enable competition to UPC."

So, with fiber (muni, entrepreneurial and incumbent) nipping at its heels and KPN pushing DTT, it would seem the right time for UPC to go on a charm offensive, er, no, instead it's shopping two of its file sharing subscribers' identities to Dutch artists' rights group Brein. The background here is complex - UPC initially denied that it had passed information to Brein, then claimed that the information was only included in court papers to demonstrate UPC's internal controls, though Brein claims that earlier it was explicitly promised such information. Whether this reflects malice or merely ineptness at UPC is probably academic now, as the public is outraged and feeling that trust has been violated. Watch those churn numbers fly!

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