UPC – the company formerly known as Chorus NTL – may have to turn off the TV services of up to 77,000 customers unless telecoms regulator Comreg stops “dragging its heels”, according to The Sunday Times.

The regulator and UPC are discussing the future of the Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) spectrum, which the company uses to provide TV to rural areas outside its urban cable network.

Mobile phone companies want MMDS taken away from UPC and handed to them to allow them build the next generation of mobile broadband, or 4G.

UPC currently owns 10 licences, which more or less cover the entire state. The first tranche is up for renewal in 2012 and the remainder in 2014.

If UPC is forced to hand MMDS over, it would have to buy new equipment to service its rural customer base.


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