Cable TV offers data communication services

  • 2000-02-17
TALLINN (ETA) - Estonia's largest cable TV operator Starman said it would launch data communications services after Telia sells its 60 percent stake in the company.

By offering data communications services via its cable network, Starman intends to win a considerable market stake in the market.

"We are the largest cable TV operator in Estonia and in order to maintain and enhance this position, we have to expand our area of services," said Peeter Kern, managing director of Starman.

Kern said that this becomes possible after Telia sells its stake because Telia is a 25 percent stockholder in Eesti Telefon, which has a monopoly on fixed-line telephone in Estonia.

"Telia has been a very good owner, but its extensive interests in the Estonian market have started to hinder the development of Starman," said Kern.

In a longer perspective, Starman might also be interested in launching its own telephone services.

Kern said that Starman's controlling stake would be bought by another strong foreign communications firm.

Telia managing director Jan-Ake Kark said in a statement announcing the withdrawal to prime minister Mart Laar that Telia was forced to sell the stake due to the new cable TV law, passed last spring.

According to the new law on cable television, cable TV firms cannot be operated by companies that have more than a 40 percent stake in Estonian telephone services market.

The law also creates monopoly in the Estonian cable TV market for certain companies in certain towns and the monopolistic rights for cable TV in Tallinn have been granted to Tallinna Kaabeltelevisioon.

Kark said he hoped Estonia would not pass other laws that hinder Telia from competing on the Estonian market on an equal basis.