Austrian cable operator Lampert has set up a DVB-T transmitter in neighbouring Switzerland in order to be able to distribute the popular TV channels of Swiss public broadcaster SRG on its network again.
After the national DTT switch-off in June 2019, digital terrestrial television can thus be received from Switzerland for the first time again.
Swiss telco Swisscom put the DVB-T transmitter Hoher Kasten back into operation on July 8, 2020, Christoph Schmid, head of marketing & sales at Lampert, told Broadband TV News. “Unfortunately, due to Corona, it took a very long time to finally implement it.” The two German-language SRG channels SRF 1 and SRF 2 are broadcast from the transmitter site. Redistribution on cable has already commenced.
With the move, first reported in November 2019, Lampert is creating the technical and legal basis for making SRG’s channels available to its cable customers again.
After the shutdown of the nationwide DTT network by SRG in June 2019, SRF 1 and SRF 2 disappeared from cable networks in neighbouring countries as redistribution was only permitted if the channels could be received terrestrially unencrypted in the border area. On satellite, SRG encrypts its signals to restrict the reach to Swiss citizens. Therefore, this provided no alternative way of reception for cable operators.
In an aim to bring the channels back to its customers, Lampert applied for an authorisation at Swiss media authority Bakom to use a Swiss DVB-T frequency. The permission, which was subsequently granted, enables the company to broadcast SRG’s channels unencrypted via a DTT transmitter site on Hoher Kasten, a 1,800-metre mountain in the Swiss Appenzell Alps. Because the signal also reaches bordering parts of Austria, local cable operators can thus add SRG’s channels to their networks again.
According to Schmid, demand for the Swiss public TV channels has been “extremely high” among customers as they had always been an integral part of daily television consumption: “They offer added value for cultural exchange and intercultural understanding.”
Because all cable operators in the Austrian Vorarlberg region – the area served by Lampert – benefit from the solution, they also share the costs for the DVB-T transmitter site.