The Evolution of the Cable TV Network


The minister presidents of the individual German states agree on time-limited cable pilot projects for Berlin, Ludwigshafen-Mannheim, Munich, Cologne and Wuppertal.


The state government of Rhineland-Palatinate adopts the "Test Law" regulating a pilot project with broadband cable. It licenses private broadcasters for the first time. Because of the new technical capabilities of broadband cable, the Federal Constitutional Court changes its previous interpretation of the law and does not raise any objections to the licensing of private broadcasters.


Christian Schwarz-Schilling (CDU), Minister for Post and Telecommunication, accelerates the expansion of the cable networks. In 1983/84 alone, two million cable connections are established. In response to pressure from medium-sized businesses, the responsibility of Deutsche Bundespost is restricted to the operation of network level 3, which ends outside of customers` homes or buildings. Service companies and trade businesses are entrusted with the installation and maintenance of network level 4, the household network. This separation of network levels still has effects today.


In the range of a cable pilot project in Ludwigshafen four private stations financed with commercials start broadcasting for the first time beside public broadcasters. Nationwide broadcasting of TV programs via cable is launched one year later.


Six years after the launch of the cable pilot project in Ludwigshafen, the cable network passes the homes of 14.1 million German households; 6.3 million households are actually connected. The expansion continues at a rapid pace. By 1995, at least 24 million homes are passed and just under 16 million households get their TV signal by cable.


With the “Telecommunication Law” the Federal Government kicks of the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector and therewith the end of Deutsche Telekom’s monopoly.


The broadcast of digital television in the cable network starts with the station DF1. The public broadcasters ARD and ZDF begin to feed digital programms in the cable network with the Internationale Funkausstellung (FIA) 1997.


The EU Commission calls for the separation of the operation of telecommunication and cable television networks. For Deutsche Telekom, this means it has to sell its broadband cable networks.


Hour of birth for Kabel Deutschland: In order to prepare the subsequent disposition, Deutsche Telekom outsources the entire division broadband cable into the Kabel Deutschland GmbH.

2001 / 2002

Cable networks of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wuerttemberg are being sold to the US-investor Callahan. Gary Klesch, a british investor, takes over the cable network of Hesse. The companies ish, iesy – later fusionied to Unity Media – and Kabel BW emerge.


The Federal Cartel Office prohibits the acquisition of the remaining six regional companies by the American media group Liberty Media.


An investor group consisting of Providence Equity Partners, Apax Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquires the six regional cable network operators and bundles them in the Kabel Deutschland Group. Together with the new management, the investors begin to systematically restructure the Company from a technically-oriented infrastructure operator to a customer-oriented marketing organisation.

History and Development of Kabel Deutschland

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