The must-carry obligation for platforms broadcasting radio and TV stations

Anyone who provides radio or television programme services in Switzerland is obliged to broadcast certain channels. This must-carry obligation concerns all telecommunication service providers that reach more than 100 households. It applies to cable networks, IPTV networks (e.g. BlueTV or Sunrise UPC) as well as virtual services that do not deploy their own networks (e.g. Zattoo or Wilmaa).

A must-carry obligation exists for some 18 to 20 radio stations and a similar number of television channels. The broadcasting requirements apply to all telecommunication service providers (TSPs) that broadcast channels, including web TV providers broadcasting channels via the open internet.

The general broadcasting obligations for TSPs are laid down in Articles 59 and 60 of the Radio and Television Act and in Articles 52 to 54 of the Radio and Television Ordinance. Specific provisions for the broadcasting of SRG SSR stations are to be found in Article 21 of the SRG SSR's licence.

Television channels subject to the broadcasting obligation

The following explanations refer to the broadcasting obligation of television channels. In total, there are four groups of must-carry channels which must be broadcast by the TSPs "in sufficient quality and free of charge".

Based on these provisions and on Article 53 of the Radio and Television Ordinance, a TSP may be obliged to digitally broadcast up to 50 radio stations and 30 TV channels. However, these are maximum upper limits which the regulator may not exceed.

Specialist staff
Last modification 12.04.2022

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