Switzerland's upc cablecom abolishes basic encryption

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 
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Digital HD television and 2 Mbit Internet now included in the cable connection

ZURICH — upc cablecom is launching the most far-reaching change on the Swiss TV market since the introduction of digital television: by 1 January 2013, the 55 most popular TV channels (including HD) will be available in all households unencrypted digital and thus without the need for additional equipment. The cost of the basic digital offer (currently CHF 4 per month) will no longer apply. Furthermore, upc cablecom will provide all cable subscribers with a 2 Mbit/s Internet connection at no extra cost. In agreement with the Price Regulator, the price of the cable connection will be increased progressively over two years beginning with a rise of 90 rappen in 2013 followed by a second increase of 60 rappen in 2014.

In recent years, digital television has clearly established itself in relation to the conventional system. About 80 per cent of the 3.2 million Swiss households now watch digital TV. To take this change into account, upc cablecom has decided to undertake a fundamental reorganisation of the cable connection. The monthly subscription fee now includes the most popular TV channels (including HD). This offer will be broadcast in unencrypted format, without need for additional set-top box or DigiCard (CI+). In one fell swoop, upc cablecom will convert all 1.8 million connected households to digital television.

Digital television will be less expensive and easier to use

At present, the basic digital offer from upc cablecom costs CHF 31.40 per month (CHF 27.40 for the cable connection plus a subscription fee of CHF 4 for the basic digital package including 55 channels). From 1 January 2013, the cable connection will cost CHF 28.40, rising to CHF 29.05 on 1 January 2014 while the number of digital channels (including HD) in the package will remain the same. As upc cablecom will abolish encryption for the basic offer, customers will not need a set-top box to receive the new basic digital offer. All that is required is a upc cablecom cable connection, an ordinary aerial cable and a modern television set with integrated DVB-C receiver. Television sets without digital receivers can nevertheless benefit from the extended range of digital channels by means of a free upc cablecom converter. The new conditions have been determined within the framework of an agreement with the Price Regulator, Stefan Meierhans, and will replace the expiring arrangement at the end of 2012.

Greatly improved services

With this new initiative, upc cablecom will greatly improve cable connection services: All customers living in the footprint will have access to digital TV and radio channels, including top-quality HD services. The package can be used in all rooms simultaneously and without restriction. Furthermore, the free Internet access via the cable connection will now be more than six times quicker offering a download speed of 2 Mbit/s instead of the current 300 Kbit/s.

The new basic digital offer will comprise at least 55 unencrypted digital television channels. Up to 19 of these channels depending on the region and availability will be in top HD quality.

For those customers who have subscribed to the current basic “mini” digital offer including 55 TV channels for the price of CHF 4/month, the offer will be extended to 70 channels. Customers who wish to change to the new basic digital offer can do so in compliance with the contractual cancellation period or when their current contract expires. Customers can change offers free of charge.

upc cablecom will maintain the current basic analogue package (36 channels) until further notice. As more and more people watch digital TV, the relevance of analogue TV decreases. Therefore, a reduction in the number of analogue channels is foreseeable in the future. The free converter means that this adaptation can be implemented without any loss of comfort and without additional costs for the customer.

Eric Tveter is pleased to be able to offer all customers improved services via the cable connection: “Digital television is the future and we are now making this experience even more accessible to all our customers. This step is a milestone in the history of Swiss telecommunications,” says the CEO of upc cablecom.