Swedish minister wants more free-to-air channels in the terrestrial television network

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A decryption card is needed for most channels in the Swedish digital television network. Photographer: Johan Olsson (Teracom).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In a press release on September 8 from the Swedish Ministry of Education, Research and Culture it was announced that new television broadcasting licenses for the Swedish digital terrestrial television network was to be given and that the Radio and Television Authority (RTVV) had been given the task to handle the applications. All digital television licenses will cease by the end of 2005 and the companies must apply for a renewal if they want to continue broadcasting in 2006 and 2007.

Minister Leif Pagrotsky says in the press release that he is "taking an initiative towards a broader offer and more free channels". He doesn't give any clue on how this will be done in the press release, however. In an interview in Dagens Media, his press secretary Thomas Johansson says that new applicants most likely must offer free-to-air channels if they want a licence. Johansson says that there is space for at least two more channels in the network.

The RTVV shall leave a suggestion of what channels will get new or continued licenses on November 21, 2005. As of September 8 TV4 AB, Dagens Industri, Sportexpressen and Eurosport SA had sent their applications for new or continued licenses.

Currently, very few of the 33 channels in the network have chosen to go free-to-air, in contrast to the United Kingdom, Germany and Finland where most channels are free-to-air.