According to 1st deputy minister of the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development, Dimitri Kumsishvili, GEL 20 millions has been allotted from the state budget to successfully accomplish the process of digital switchover. The amount implies subsidizing of socially vulnerable part of the population with the receivers, as well as the functioning of the agency(legal entity of the public law) for switchover to digital broadcasting.
The agency the main function of which will be ensuring of information support for the switchover process, starts working from 14 February.
As stated by Kumsishvili, Kubinidze was actively engaged in the development of the action plan for the digital switchover.
“Nino will be the head of the agency in the initial stage. She has a good experience in the technical field. We’ll begin just like that, yet there can be some changes in the future,”- Kumsishvili stated at the February 14 press-conference, where he presented the strategy for digital switchover to journalists.
The Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development published the action plan and recommendations for the switchover to digital broadcasting on February 8. The government approved the plan on February 7. The document has been drawn up with the aid of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD) and recommendations of Georgian National Communications Commission(GNCC) and NGOs.
At the press-conference Kumsishvili accentuated the work of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information(IDFI) and International Transparency-Georgia, and thanked them.
According to him, the document specifying concrete deadlines for the accomplishment of each work will be published soon. In addition, legislative changes necessary for the realization of the given process have already been prepared and confirmed by the government on February 13.
Dimitri Kumsishvili says that the campaign will ensure that each citizen is able to receive the broadcasting signal. After the switchover is accomplished, those receiving the signal through an antenna and don’t have a TV set of the appropriate standard, will receive the broadcasting after connecting special set top-box. Such devices, the deputy minister says, will cost up to GEL 50. Those receiving broadcasting through cable, satellite, or IPTV technology won’t have to buy a set top-box.
The strategy prescribes that socially vulnerable persons under less than 70,000 scores, those that have a TV set, will be given set top boxes free of charge. However, it’s not decided as yet the way the citizens that don’t have a TV will receive the signal.
Broadcasters currently spread their signal in the analogous mode. Due to the limited resource of frequencies, the member countries of International Telecommunications Union(ITU) have come to an agreement in 2006 to switchover to digital broadcasting. June 17 2015 has been set as the deadline. A great number of countries have already switched to digital broadcasting.
In the meantime, Georgia has only half a year left to accomplish the activities listed in the strategy.