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Press release

Swisscom Broadcast offers digital TV to cable TV operators

16 April 2004

Swisscom Broadcast is launching Premium Digital TV, which will be delivered to TV consumers via the local cable network operators (CNOs). With digital TV, viewers will benefit from an array of new channels and a personal choice of programmes. The cable network operators will continue to operate freely and, hence, independently in the market. Swisscom Broadcast Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swisscom Group.

Digital TV can be broadcast and received in the same way as the existing analogue TV, via cable, satellite or terrestrial stations. The medium of cable (Digital Video Broadcasting-Cable,  DVB-C for short) is of major importance to Swisscom Broadcast, since it is the way 85% of Swiss households currently receive their TV programmes. The Swiss DVB-C market has a potential of around three million households, including around two million in the German-speaking area of Switzerland alone.

Cable network operators remain independent

The business model that has been chosen enables the cable network companies to retain their independence in programme design and relationships with end customers. "This aspect was particularly important to Swisscom Broadcast," explains CEO Giovanni Conti, "Because our business customers set great store by their independence, and at the same time Swisscom Broadcast is primarily an infrastructure provider for its business customers. This business model offers advantages to all concerned."

Entertainment- and language-focussed offerings

TV consumers are interested in specific content (sport, feature films etc.). Although the current television programmes cover a very wide range of topics, their timing is often not geared to the individual consumer's day. With the launch of Premium Digital TV, Swisscom Broadcast is bringing a variety of products onto the market containing dedicated TV channels, for example Premium Entertainment or Premium Lingua. The two so-called "language bouquets" take multi-lingualism into account. For example, Premium Lingua will enable Croatian-speaking television viewers to watch a wide range of TV channels in their mother tongue. And science fiction fans will find a channel tailored to their interests in SiFi (from Universal), part of the Premium Entertainment package. "This partnership has brought us a great deal closer to our goal of making our stations accessible to as many viewers as possible in the German-speaking area," says Wolfram Winter, Managing Director of Universal Studios Networks in Germany.

Digital TV has already been launched successfully in other European countries: over 20% of TV consumers in the UK, for example, have had digital reception since 2001.

Simple installation with Premium end-user kit

To receive the digital entertainment channels, customers will need a "Premium" end-user kit. This kit can be connected directly to a conventional television set and contains a set-top box and a smart card. The set-top box, together with the smart card, decodes the digital signals and converts them into a standard TV signal which can be reproduced by the TV set as pictures and sound.

The ease of conversion from analogue to digital television will enable all TV consumers to enjoy the benefits of digital. Television is thus on the way to digitisation, following in the footsteps of telephony and the computer.

Swisscom Broadcast Ltd provides radio and television to the whole of Switzerland

Since its inception, Swisscom Broadcast has been responsible for the broadcast of radio and television services in Switzerland. While SRG SSR idée suisse produces the programme content, Swisscom Broadcast transmits the programmes to every household in Switzerland. Today, Swisscom Broadcast has a mandate to broadcast programme signals not only for SRG SSR, but also for local radio and TV stations and the emergency services. The Swisscom Broadcast network consists of over 500 broadcasting stations in all regions of Switzerland. The company is creating an important new business arm with its entry into the world of digital cable television.

Swisscom Broadcast is the leading infrastructure provider in Switzerland today for wireless transmission and associated value added services. Swisscom Broadcast is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swisscom Ltd. and has been an independent public limited company since 1 January 2002. It has its headquarters in Berne and now employs 240 staff, including 160 field staff who work on site at the customers' premises.

Berne, 16 April 2004

Kontakt

Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern

media@swisscom.com