End of the compulsory box: This is what Comparis.ch says

Comparis.ch welcomes the end of encryption for digital television. However, specialist editor Ralf Beyeler criticizes UPC Cablecom's high basic fees.

UPC Cablecom is abandoning the encryption of its digital television. The Internet comparison service Comparis.ch welcomes this step. From the consumers' point of view, the "forced box" was not comprehensible. Now customers will finally no longer be forced to pay for such a box. It is pleasing that the pressure of competition has led to this step.

Switzerland's largest cable network operator, UPC Cablecom, today announced the end of basic encryption (Werbewoche.ch reported). In future, every owner of a newer television will be able to watch digital television directly via the existing connection in their home. The so-called set-top box is no longer a prerequisite. The usual 55 channels are available, some of which are in HD quality. Only those who want to record programs digitally or watch films on demand still need a box.

An old braid is cut off

"UPC Cablecom has finally abolished the forced box", says Ralf Beyeler, telecom expert at the internet comparison service Comparis.ch. UPC Cablecom is thus accommodating its customers. The set-top box was an old fad. Many customers did not understand why they not only had to pay the TV provider monthly fees for television, but were also forced to pay for such a box. Comparis.ch had criticized this several times in the past, and politicians had also addressed the issue.

"It is pleasing that competition has come into play here and created an advantage for consumers," says Ralf Beyeler. Because what politics has failed to achieve has now been achieved through competitive pressure. UPC Cablecom, which was practically a monopolist in the majority of Swiss households for years, has been facing tough competition for some time now. In digital television, UPC Cablecom (661,800 customers) has been overtaken by Swisscom TV (694,000 customers), which has been on the market for six years. UPC Cablecom still has 840,000 customers who only receive analog television. Many of these customers are likely to have a newer TV set and now benefit almost automatically from digital television and especially from HD quality without having to take out a contract.

High basic fees

It remains to be seen whether UPC Cablecom will be able to keep its customers. Because the measure also has a catch from the consumer's point of view. "UPC Cablecom has very high basic fees compared to other cable network operators," says Ralf Beyeler from comparis.ch. The basic fee will be even higher, from CHF 27.45 today to CHF 29.05, i.e. an increase of CHF 1.60. Many regional cable network operators only charge between 10 and 20 francs. Nevertheless, UPC Cablecom customers will also receive Internet access with a download speed of 2 Mbit/s on request and at no extra charge. This speed is sufficient for normal use. (ots)

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