Sweden ends digital TV monopoly

Faced legal threats from European Commission

BRUSSELS -- Sweden has scrapped its state monopoly of digital television in the face of legal threats by the European Commission. The Swedish government abolished a licensing system that effectively gave the partly state-owned company Boxer the exclusive right to handle certain digital terrestrial broadcasting services.

The move comes almost five years after Sweden was required under EU law to ensure an open market for radio and television broadcasting. The government adopted legislation in 2003 that said access to all digital terrestrial broadcasting programming and services should be controlled by a single open system for the entire network and that Boxer should construct, install and maintain this encryption system.

But in practice, Swedish broadcasters using digital terrestrial and transmission technology were obliged to go through Boxer to get access control services, which include encryption and decryption of TV signals and the provision of decoders, set-top boxes, smart cards and other devices.

Stockholm has now amended the system that gave Boxer the monopoly, lifting the legal obstacles to new market entrants.
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