BRUSSELS — Telenet is shutting down its analog cable radio transmission service. Under the slogan “De Signaal Switch” (“The signal switch”) it began phasing out the service on Feb. 11.
The transmission provider, which serves 1.8 Million households in Flanders and Brussels, says the operation will be complete by the end of April. It also plans to end the transmission of analog television in 2021, leaving some 360,000 households to switch to alternatives.
“Our objective is to use the 88–108 FM MHz bandwidth for new projects like extra internet capacity — we simply need more room to speedup internet transmission and therefore we decided to stop our analog radio and television services,” said Bruno Bilic, entertainment product manager with Telenet Group.
“The fact is that we don’t have an idea how many people use analog cable radio,” admitted Bilic. “It has been part of our cable offer package since day one, and offers good analog audio quality, with excellent signal to noise ratio and 24/7 output. And although the service has existed for 30 years, many clients are not aware they use it — radio has always been there…”
After having tested a corporate communication campaign in two urban areas, Telenet launched a info-message on the 105.3 FM MHz. “We direct our customers to that specific frequency — when they hear a message saying they are connected to our analog cable network, they must take action,” explained Bilic.
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Telenet put in place various solutions, including a complimentary indoor radio antenna. “Replacing the coax-cable by the antenna allows the reception of some 30 FM stations but the signal is not always optimal,” Bilic said.
SIMPLIFY THE DIGITAL TRANSITION
“With most of our clients using the Telenet-Digicorder-device, the simplest and free access to radio, with 50 digital channels and 10 no-speech Stingray channels, is to connect the Digicorder’s output to the AUX-input of an amplifier. No need to switch on the TV set.”
In addition, Telenet’s web shop offers alternatives like a Vistron DVB-C VDR 210 radio -tuner, a Pure Elan BT3 DAB+ radio set or an LG WK7 smart speaker.
“The last thing we wanted was to leave our clients in the cold,” underlined Bilic. “The various solutions boost the number of stations from about 30 on the current analog dial to 40 with the cable tuner, and 60 with the Digicorder.”
Insiders are convinced the shutdown of analog cable radio will benefit listening overall and further facilitate the transition to digital radio.
In the South of Belgium, cable company VOO, serving some 800,000 households in Wallonia and Brussels, continues its analog signal transmission. “At this point, we have no plans or timetable to shut down our analog radio services,” commented VOO spokesman Patrick Blocry.