Bulgaria Blames Brussels for Latest DTT Woes

Bulgaria in EU | August 13, 2013, Tuesday // 13:42|  views

The analogue switch-off in Bulgaria was scheduled to be wrapped up by September this year. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s authorities claim that Brussels is to blame for failing to switch off analogue broadcasting of television signals by the September 1 deadline.

“The analogue broadcasting of television signals will not stop right on September 1, because European officials in Brussels failed to approve on time the program to provide free DTT receivers to socially disadvantaged people,” Maria Stoyanova, member of the media watchdog CEM, commented on Tuesday.

"The idea of helping the poor with vouchers for DTT receivers was initially considered by Brussels as quite controversial, because such an approach has not been applied in other European countries," said Stoyanova.

Bulgaria will not switch off analogue broadcasting of television signals by the September 1 deadline, the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications (MTITC) announced last week.

“The delay in the switch-off however does not mean a delay in the country’s transition to digital broadcasting,” Minister Georgi Todorov commented last Wednesday.

"Our main goal is to make sure that all underprivileged people receive free DTT receivers before we shut down the analogue signal,” Todorov said.

In May this year Bulgaria's telecom watchdog awarded the license for what will be the country's public service DTT multiplex to Bulsatkom company.

Bulgaria decided at the end of December 2011 to hold a tender for yet another multiplex, its seventh, a surprising last-minute decision, which local experts slammed as a mere eye- wash for Brussels, which referred the country to EU court over the assignment of digital broadcast spectrum.

The European Commission demanded that Bulgaria publish the conditions of the tender as soon as possible, so that potential new entrants can prepare their applications, be selected and enter the market before the date set for the analogue switch off,  September 1 2013.

The Commission said it will monitor that the tender conditions are in line with the Directives and allow effective entry into the digital terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure market.

The seventh multiplex will be just a collection of frequencies and its holder - in a much more disadvantaged position than Hannu Pro and Towercom, which have already grabbed the lion's share of the market, according to experts.

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Tags: ORS, Oesterreichischer Rundfunksender, Brussels, multiplexes, DTT, Competition Protection Commission, Oesterreichischer Rundfunksender, Corporate Commercial Bank, European Commission, Communications Regulation Commission, Bromak, Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), Hannu Pro, Towercom, Gintars Kavacis, Mancelord Limited, Vivacom, Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, BTC, Irena Krasteva, BNT, BNR, Thomson Broadcast, Technicolor, analogue switch-off, Transport Minister, Alexander Tsvetkov, NURTS, European Union Court of Justice, Austria, Latvia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Transport Ministry


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