Holland’s largest cable operator Ziggo is set to reduce the number of analogue channels by April 2011. The cabler has sent a letter to all regional programme councils, who advise over the analogue channel line-up, that the total number of channels will go down from 30 to 25, or perhaps even 15.
The operator will make its final decision this October, but has already sent an advanced warning. The programme councils give a binding advice on the line-up of first 15 channels in analogue. Out of these 15 channels, there are already seven must-carry channels, the three national Dutch public broadcasters, two Dutch language Flemish channels and one or two regional public broadcasters.
Ziggo needs the the analogue frequencies in order to expand their digital channel offer, especially for new HD channels. The operator sells a single basic package at €16.50 a month, which comprises a basic digital offer of 60 channels, as well as basic analogue of 30 channels. Viewers can get up to three smart cards for additional TV sets in the home.
At a recent press briefing, Kees Bosman, CTO, UPC Nederland, said the operator has no concrete plans to reduce or switch-off the analogue channels. In order to more economically use space, the operator plans to use 256QAM modulation in more multiplexes after experimenting with one mux. UPC also has no plans to introduce DVB-C2, but is closely following these and other technical developments.