UPC Cablecom to drop basic encryption

Jörn Krieger | 17-10-2012

Switzerland's largest cable operator UPC Cablecom will distribute the 55 most popular TV channels including up to 19 HD channels totally unencrypted from 1 January 2013.
At the same time, the subscription fee of currently CHF4 per month for the digital basic package will be dropped.
Furthermore, UPC Cablecom will provide all of its cable customers with 2 Mbps internet access without additional charge. In return, the monthly cable fee will rise in two steps by CHF 1.50 until 2014.
The encryption of free-to-air channels on the cable network has been much criticised by consumer protectors in the past and is considered to be one of the reasons why many cable households have so far hesitated to make the move from analogue to digital television.
Through lifting basic encryption, viewers will be able to receive the digital free-to-air channel line-up with any digital TV reception device and without a smartcard. Viewers owning a TV set with an integrated cable tuner (DVB-C) won't need a set-top-box any longer. For TV sets without a digital cable tuner, UPC Cablecom will provide a converter free of charge from January 2013.
With the step, UPC Cablecom will grant its total customer base of 1.8 million households access to digital television at one go. The subsidiary of US media company Liberty Global wants to keep its analogue basic line-up of 36 TV channels for the time being, but already indicates that the number of analogue channels is likely to be reduced in future.