Capacities for the transmission of television services in the analogue broadband cable networks have been in short supply from the start of commercial broadcasting. As more and more new private services developed and public-sector broadcasters expanded their range of services, a permanent shortage of cable capacities ensued. As a result it became necessary to allocate cable capacities in the analogue networks. Contrary to that, digital cable capacities are available in amply supply as one channel can carry as many as ten different services.
Under the Bavarian media law, the BLM can lay down the allocation of up to 30 cable channels through appropriate regulation. In late 2003 and 2005, this regulation was amended in the interest of deregulated capacity allocation and for making more room for the switchover from analogue to digital cable transmission.
Whereas previously, 33 channels were earmarked for the transmission of analogue television services, the number was reduced to a minimum of 24 channel as a result of the amended regulation which lays down how these capacities are to be used.
"Must carry" and options of choice
Under the amended regulation, a must-carry provision applies for eleven television services which are provided in the Bavarian cable networks on the basis of the appropriate legislation in force on 1 February 1998. They comprise the services of the public-sector broadcasters as well as the national commercial services licensed by the BLM. In addition, the cable networks in Bavaria must also carry the respective local television service of the area and the Bavarian-wide television window programme as well as a media service (e.g., a teleshopping service).
The network operators may then select a further nine services from five groups of services.
As digital cable capacities are available in ample supply, the requirements for the transmission of digital cable services are less stringent than in the analogue networks. Three channels must be provided for service bouquets offered by public-sector broadcasting, and one channel for local services. Beyond that, network operators are free to allocate cable capacities according to their decision under the general framework of the media law.