Insights & news

Van Bael & Bellis successfully represents cable operators Nethys and Brutélé in proceedings against regulated wholesale tariffs for access to cable networks

  • 06/11/2017
  • News

On 25 October 2017, in four separate judgments, the Brussels Court of Appeal annulled two sets of decisions adopted in 2013 and 2016 by the Belgian telecommunications regulators. These decisions determine the wholesale tariffs applicable to the access to, and use of, cable operators’ networks by their competitors, such as Orange Belgium.

The four judgments are significant as they annul with retroactive effect all of the tariff rules imposed by the telecommunications regulators following the opening of the cable networks in Belgium in 2011.

More specifically, the Court found that the 2013 decisions lacked adequate reasons as the Belgian regulators had ignored the European Commission’s opinion on the draft decisions without explaining why they chose not to follow it. The Court also found fault with the regulators’ approach to consider Nethys and Brutélé as a single cable operator. Finally, the Court held that the 2016 decisions were also invalid as they relied on the annulled decisions of 2013 and were, in addition, based on an outdated analysis of the broadcasting market in breach of EU telecommunications law.

Van Bael & Bellis partner Peter L’Ecluse and associates Valérie Lefever, Eléonore Waterkeyn and Quentin Declève represented cable operators Nethys and Brutélé.

Key contacts

Related practice areas

Related insights

Sign up for updates
    • 21/09/2020
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2020, No. 8

    The August 2020 issue of our Belgian Business Law newsletter reporting on the latest developments in a range of areas, including competition, data protection, intellectual property and labour law

    Read more
    • 21/09/2020
    • Articles

    Entry into Force of Second Agreement for Supply of COVID-19 Vaccine between European Commission and Sanofi-GSK

    As part of its European Vaccines Strategy adopted in June 2020 (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News Alert of 18 June 2020), the European Commission (the Commission) announced on 18 September 2020 the entry into force of a second agreement providing for access to a potential vaccine against Covid-19 (see, attached press release). The Commission’s partner for the new agreement is Sanofi-GSK which has promised to sell up to 300 million doses of the new vaccine if the product materialises. The agreement would seem to emulate a similar deal with AstraZeneca in that the Commission secures the supply of vaccines for EU Member States and for a range of lower and middle income countries while financing part of the vaccine’s upfront development costs (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News Alert of 31 August 2020). The vaccine now forms the subject of clinical trials and may become available in the second half of 2021 if it completes successfully its regulatory trajectory. Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are developing a recombinant vaccine against Covid-19 that builds on Sanofi’s S-protein Covid-19 antigen, based on recombinant DNA technology, and GSK’s adjuvant technology. The combined approach is hoped to enhance the immune response and facilitate the production of vaccines on a large scale.

    Read more
    • 15/09/2020
    • Articles

    US President Signs Another Executive Order Implementing International Pricing Index Model

    On 13 September 2020, the US President signed another executive order (the New Order) implementing an international pricing index model (see, attachment). At the same time, he revoked an earlier such order signed at the end of July 2020 (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News Alert of 28 July 2020). The New Order is more a political manifesto than a set of technical rules. It once more bemoans the allegedly unfair price differences for many prescription medicines between the US and other developed nations and posits that US citizens are thus “subsidizing innovation and lower-cost drugs for the rest of the world”. Additionally, the New Order expresses concern about access to medicines in that “high drug prices in the United States also have serious economic and health consequences for patients in need of treatment”. The New Order seeks to remedy these problems in similar fashion to what the July order tried to achieve and dictates that the price of qualifying medicines should not exceed that of the most-favoured nation price (MFNP) for these medicines. The MFNP is defined as the “lowest price, after adjusting for volume and differences in national gross domestic product, for a pharmaceutical product that the drug manufacturer sells in a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that has a comparable per-capita gross domestic product.” On that basis, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is directed to develop and test a payment model which implements the MFNP for two categories of medicines. Critics were quick to point out that the elaboration of a payment model does nothing more than signaling the start of a potentially lengthy administrative process. Still, developed nations are again at the receiving end of a strong message that prices for medicines in overseas markets that were developed in the US are likely to go up rather than down, regardless of their actual development costs.

    Read more

Subscribe to our updates

Please select the practice areas you are interested in: *