A Model for Regional TV Digital Switchover Presented

7 Aug, 2013

Source: Institute for Development of Freedom of Information.

Regional TV representatives, network providers and experts of the field considered digital switchover of regional TVs at a meeting on July 11.  The meeting was organized by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and hosted by the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).  Natia Kuprashvili, the Executive Director of the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) and an IDFI expert, shared IDFI views and recommendations regarding the digital switchover of regional TVs.  It is important in the digitalization process that the regional TV channels have a chance to spread television signal independently, which is possible through low-capacity transmitters. It is quite expensive to build them, however same frequency may be used by several channels located in one zone.  If there is only a single broadcaster within one zone, the liability of obligatory transit will then be imposed upon its low-capacity network.  However, it was argued during the meeting that building a new infrastructure could be more efficient financially.  The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development estimated that the installation of two multiplexes, one for central channels (including GPB)  and the other for regional broadcasters, will cost the state 14 million EUR, said Boris Adamia, the General Director of Georgian Teleradio Center.

According to the data provided by NAM, Ukraine Regional Broadcasters Network, building one low-capacity multiplex in one broadcasting zone will cost USD 30 000.  In order to select the best models and make accurate estimates, IDFI and GARB offer the state and concerned parties to arrange a test broadcasting zone.  As part of the OSGF funded project  – Support and Monitoring of Digital Switchover in Georgia – IDFI has actively worked on digital broadcasting related issues.  On May 21, 2013 IDFI unveiled its own digital switchover strategy.  The IDFI-developed strategy embraces all key directions for successful switchover from analog to digital  broadcasting and formation of digital broadcasting into a competitive platform. The document sets forth detailed technical parameters and information about licensing, the state subsidy policy, competition regulation policy, regional broadcaster support policy, business model and awareness campaign. The strategy provides additional criteria for broadcasting programs through terrestrial digital  network  and defines the order of access to multiplex resources by a commercial broadcaster if such resources are limited.