The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) released the survey on State Subsidizing Policy Landmarks of the Process of Transition to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting.
According to the recent release the State aid policy, in the course of the transition period, implies events to be taken in two areas: first - final customers that are in need for State support for social as well as physical conditions (funding for some special devices or the ones adapted to their needs, informational support, aid with installation-arrangement works and the like) and second suppliers and importers (broadcasters, and network providers that are to secure transmission of digital terrestrial signals, arrangement of network/rearmament, wholesalers and/or retailers of devices and so on).
Subsidizing Policy for Final Customers
Ucha Seturi, the author of the survey believes that to secure efficient transition from analogue to digital broadcasting the demands and problems of any group of the society need to be taken into account, as well as securing their access to digital broadcasting network, unless otherwise the switch-off of analogue broadcasting will entail isolation for a certain group of the population. The vulnerability of final customers, apart from financial and physical reasons, might be resulted from the lack of necessary skills and information.
To support the transition to digital broadcasting the State funding is to embrace the following areas:
- Subsidizing the population below Poverty Line and similar categories to purchase devices (subsidizing the purchase of receivers and/or other methods of aid);
- Measures aimed at financially stimulating less vulnerable customers that might become the receivers of digital terrestrial service at a prior stage of transition to digital broadcasting (offering incentives to the individuals with 70 001-200 000 points according to the Georgian Social Service Agency’s general database on vulnerable families);
- Funding the events aimed at raising public awareness to secure successful transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting (outreach campaign and other activities).
- Subsidizing receivers for the persons with disabilities and single pensioners as well as installation of receivers and instructions. event
The author of the survey believes that regional and local broadcasters might enjoy the incentive such as cheaper or zero regulation fee, or exempting them from taxes only during simulcast or transition period.
The survey suggests granting temporary exemptions from customs fee and VAT to the importers of relevant devices and TV sets is one of the measures of subsidizing suppliers, and that, according to the author, will further ease the transition process. “Only digital terrestrial receivers purchased on the territory of Georgia will be subject to funding,” reads the survey.
The receivers subject to funding should be neutral to networks and compatible and except for free terrestrial broadcasting signals should have a possibility to join cable and satellite networks (technologically neutral approach).