In 2004, digital television services will be available almost everywhere in Finland
Television companies, YLE, MTV3 and Channel Four Finland are accelerating the development of the digital television and have now decided upon the expansion of the digital terrestrial network. YLE's coverage area will be expanded to 12 new television stations. MTV3 and Channel Four Finland will expand to 13 new television stations.
After the expansion, the coverage of the digital terrestrial network will be about 94 percent of Finns. Our aim is to have the broadcasting network completed by August 2004. Also the possibility of satellite distribution will be looked into.
The digital television network will expand to the coverage areas of the Mikkeli, Pernaja, Fiskars, Joutseno, Kerimäki, Pihtipudas, Haapavesi, Kruunupyy, Tammela, Pyhävuori, Koli and Vuokatti television stations. In addition to this, MTV3 and Channel Four Finland will expand to the coverage area of the Vaasa television station.
The expansion of the television network will provide new channels for viewing. Up to now, three national television channels have been distributed using the terrestrial television network. Along with digital television, the following YLE channels will be available: TV1, TV2, YLE24, YLE Teema and FST. In addition to this, the supply includes MTV3, subtv, Sports Channel and Channel Four Finland, as well as their parallel channels. In addition to the channels, the digital television already includes several additional services, among others, programme guide, super-text television, and many channel-specific additional services. These services are accessible via MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) compatible receivers.
Director of Television Olli-Pekka Heinonen says that it is important for YLE to be able to offer a five-channel digital television service that complements the analogue public service so that it will be available to all Finns on equal conditions.
According to the estimate by President, CEO Pekka Karhuvaara, the expansion of the digital distribution to the entire country, in practice by summer 2004, will accelerate the increasing popularity of the digital television in Finland. It will also make it possible to start the discussion on the timetable of switching off the present analogue broadcasting.
The expansion of the network is of special importance to Channel Four Finland. "From our point of view, the expansion of the digital television network is very important, since the new digital transmitters will bring the channel to areas, in which it has not been available in the analogue form, " says Managing Director Juha-Pekka Louhelainen.
At the moment, the digital television network covers about 74 percent of the population, and ten television stations broadcast programmes digitally.