In July 2013, IDFI suggested the Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development of Georgia a strategy of digital switchover of the regional and local broadcasters.
It is worth noting, that two key questions of the recommendations suggested by the organization were reflected in the strategy concerning switchover action plan of analogue terrestrial broadcasting to the digital terrestrial one: (1) granting digital broadcasting frequency for free to the local and regional broadcasters and (2) determining lower then DVB-2 and MPG 4 compression standards.
Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) was authorized to give away licenses for free to the regional and local analogue broadcasters.
Though, there still remain challenges through the process of digital switchover in Georgia. IDFI’s recent research addresses the current issues and reveals that:
1. Regional broadcasters lack the opportunity to develop digital switchover technical project in time.
2. Additionally, current legislative base does not correspond to the strategy, adopted by government and raises the questions related to purchasing of so called Set Top Boxes by Digital Broadcasting Agency.
3. Furthermore, state policy regarding “shadow broadcasting zones” needs to be clarified.
4. Another important issue connected to the process is that activities conducted by state-owned company Ltd “Georgian TV center” lacks transparency, which may cause the negative impact on the formation of digital broadcasting platform.
Organization prepared some recommendations related to digital switchover:
1. National Communication Commission should publish alternative UHF frequencies for regional multiple platforms.
2. The plan about assigning the capacities to regional multiple platforms should be published.
3. Official information about dates, given to regional broadcasters for installation of multiple platforms should be published.
4. The definition of the term Regional Broadcaster should be specified.
5. National Communication Commission should allow installing regional multiple platforms, even in the places, where local broadcaster still does not exist.
6. Assigning radio frequency spectrum using license for free should be possible.
7. Suggesting paid service to customers should be allowed for regional multiple broadcasters.
8. Ministry of Economics, National Communication Commission and interested sides can create a joint commission.
9. Communication Commission should oblige operator A to publish television content spreading fees for local broadcasting sub-areas.
10. Digital Broadcasting Agency should be concentrated on technical specification during selection process of Set Top Boxes.
11. Broadcasters should unite and announce the competition together.
12. Ministry of Economics should determine land privatization policy in short terms.
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