Swiss cable operator Cablecom should not encrypt digital signals on its network, received from free-to-air channels, according to the Ständerat (Council of States) in Switzerland. The council approved a motion from member Simonetta Sommaruga, who argued the cable operator should not be allowed to make money on signals it receives at no cost.
The encryption of these signals is ‘competition wise scandalous and media policy wise unwanted’, according to the council member. The Council agreed with her, with 24 to 9 in favour of the motion. According to Sommaruga it is also illegal that customers have to acquire the necessary set-top box from Cablecom.
Switzerland is also in other respects an island in Europe, being the first country to allow free distribution of all free-to-air signals on cable networks. If broadcasters choose to transmit unencrypted, also on satellite, Swiss operators are free to distribute these signals, even if they are not intended for distribution in the country. This is now the case with BBC One and BBC Two, which can theoretically be picked up in the country, and are available in a number of popular hotels.