The Netherlands was the second country in Europe to switch off traditional analog television. On December 11, 2006, some three months after Luxembourg had taken this step, the analog terrestrial signal was switched off and the same frequencies are now primarily used for digital broadcasting.
The Netherlands was and is a densely cabled country. The fact that less than 1.5 percent of households were dependent on analog terrestrial television was the key precondition for the successful switch-over.
After describing the background of the switch-over, this paper summarizes the development of digital television in the Netherlands, analyzing such key policy issues as: technical decisions on access for public television, the allocation of broadcasting licenses, license conditions, roll-out obligations, and issues with regard to regional broadcasting organizations. In conclusion, the authors consider the effects of the switch-over on the Dutch media landscape.
The Open Society Media Program has commissioned background papers on a range of topics that are important for understanding the effects of new technology on media and journalism. The papers accompany a series of reports, “Mapping Digital Media,” on the impact of digitization on democracy in 60 countries around the world.