The Swiss federal government has decided to abolish the obligation to distribute must-carry channels in the analogue TV services on cable networks.
“Because the vast majority of the Swiss population use digital services, the broadcasting obligation will be limited to digital services from 2015,” accvording to the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).
The DETEC has decided to abolish the existing obligation to broadcast analogue television channels in two stages: as of June 1, 2013, the obligation to distribute foreign channels will be lifted, followed by the lifting of the obligation to broadcast domestic channels on January 1, 2015.
If a cable network operator offers its customers a free converter which converts the digital signal into an analogue signal, thereby allowing them to receive a comparable basic digital package, then the company is no longer required to broadcast analogue channels with immediate effect.
UPC Cablecom has welcomed the decision of DETEC: “Last November, upc cablecom abolished digital basic encryption. Since then, its customers have been able to enjoy more than 60 digital television channels, 19 of those in best HD quality, and more than 70 digital radio channels free of charge. They now receive significantly more channels than before – simply and at no extra cost. Whereas the analogue basic package includes 35 or more TV channels, depending on the region, the digital basic package is the more attractive option offering more than 60 channels.”
According to the DETEC, around 85% of all households currently receive digital television. Customer surveys carried out by upc cablecom also show that a large number of customers are already using the digital offering. “Anyone who has not already done so should switch over to digital television and benefit from the many advantages of our basic package,” saids Eric Tveter, managing director of upc cablecom.