The Swiss government has given the country’s public broadcaster approval to turn off its digital terrestrial TV (known as over-the-air to most people) by the end of 2019. It will be the first nation in Europe to do so.

Most Swiss have high speed broadband internet connections and cable networks in their homes, so the move is unlikely to affect many citizens. Only 1.9% of the population, about 64,000 people, reportedly take advantage of the service that’s being discontinued. Other European nations are expected to follow Switzerland’s lead in the next 10 to 15 years.

SRG broadcasts television channels in three languages under the names SRF, RTS, RSI, serving the German, French and Italian speaking communities. A fourth language service in Romansh – RTR – does not have its own TV service. The digital terrestrial TV service enables each area of Switzerland to receive the main public service channels in their language, plus at least one channel from the other two language services. The signal is configured to be very robust, given the mountainous terrain of the country.

In recent years, SRG has reduced the power of its digital terrestrial TV services to cut back on overlapping signals into other countries, including Germany, where cable operators have traditionally offered Swiss TV in areas with terrestrial coverage. However, issues surrounding broadcast rights of events such as the Champions League have forced the Swiss broadcaster to restrict or black-out access by reducing power.

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By Expat