EU sues Sweden over digital TV monopoly

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it is taking Sweden to court for failing to abolish state-owned monopoly Boxer TV-Access as required by EU law.

The European Union’s executive arm said it would lodge a case against Sweden at the European Court of Justice for not doing away with the company’s monopoly in access control services for digital terrestrial broadcasts.

“I regret that I have had to refer Sweden to the Court, but Swedish viewers should no longer be denied their right, guaranteed by (EU) law, to choose digital terrestrial TV suppliers,” said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Since September 2002, EU members are required to ensure an open market for radio and television broadcasting.

However, in contravention of EU rules, Swedish broadcasters using digital terrestrial networks have no choice but to go to Boxer to get access control services, which include encryption and decryption of TV-signals (pay-TV) and the provision of decoders, set-top boxes, smart cards and other devices.