German cable nets to develop Web, phone, TV


BERLIN -- Germany's cable network operators plan to invest more than half a billion euros this year in developing new triple play -- Internet, telephone and TV -- offerings for German customers.

That's according to a report released Wednesday by the German Association of Cable Companies, which forecasts an investment of €512 million ($687 million) in triple play products this year compared with the €365 million cable companies including Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW and Unity Media invested in such services in 2006.

German cable groups are targeting such traditional telephone firms as Deutsche Telekom, who themselves have been expanding onto cable's turf by offering Internet television and other entertainment services.

According to the German cable association, the number of Germans receiving broadband Internet access over cable lines jumped from 114,000 to 390,000 last year. Customers taking advantage of telephone services via cable climbed from just 63,000 to 293,000.

Kabel Deutschland spokesman Christoph Wahl said increased competition between cable and telephone providers for broadband Internet services is needed if Germany is to catch up with such territories as the U.S. and the Netherlands, which have significantly higher rates of broadband penetration.