Van Bael & Bellis successfully represents cable operators Nethys and Brutélé in proceedings against regulated wholesale tariffs for access to cable networks
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2016 decisions were also invalid as they relied on the annulled decisions of 2013 and were, in addition, based on an outdated analysis of the broadcasting market in breach of EU telecommunications law.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.