Time to shift from words to action
Most of Belarus is already receiving digital television broadcasts, from large cities to small villages
Less than a month remains until all Belarusian broadcasting moves finally and irrevocably from analogue to digital, following the global trend. In line with the Regional Radiocommunication Conference agreement, adopted in Geneva in 2006 (governing digital radio and television terrestrial broadcasting) analogue TV should end worldwide by June 17th, 2015. Belarus is acting well in advance of the final date, with all analogue TV transmitters to be disconnected by May 15th.
The first disconnection took place in Belarus in late 2013: in Osipovichi, Zhlobin, Yasny Les (Bobruisk) and Kostyukovichi. As the Communications and Informatisation Ministry states, so far, analogue TV broadcasting has ended at 25 Belarusian sites, with another 15 stations due to cease transmitting soon. The last to close will be Stolin, Braslav, Bychikha, Mozyr, Strelchiki, Trokeniki, Soligorsk, Starye Dorogi and Krupki, alongside the country’s major station, in the Minsk District’s Kolodishchi.
This year, digital television is being launched in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Turkey, Romania, Montenegro, Moldova, Ukraine and the Philippines
The country began the process of shifting to digital television in 2008 and is now in its final stage. The Head of Television, Radio Communication and Broadcasting at the Communications and Informatisation Ministry, Victor Zaitsev, explains, “Within the state programme to introduce digital TV and radio broadcasting, we’ve built an extended network of 84 digital television transmitters, covering 98 percent of the Belarusian population. This ensures provision of eight TV channels (a ‘social’ package), in addition to one radio programme (the First National Belarusian Radio Channel).”
In switching off analogue broadcasting, Belarus is gaining a wider radio-wave spectrum, allowing up to 20 digital programmes to occupy the same frequency band (making better use of available bandwidth).
Stage-by-stage disconnection of analogue transmitters has made it possible to launch commercial digital broadcasting, with 40 popular TV programmes already available to the public. Those subscribing to the national electric communication operator, Beltelecom, are given their receiving device free of charge, for the period of their agreement. “At the moment, over 55,400 subscribers are enjoying a range of commercial digital television countrywide, including in villages where, for many years, only a couple of programmes could be received,” notes the Communications and Informatisation Ministry.
By Alexander Benkovsky