At the Government’s session, Minister of Information and Communication Dauren Abayev informed of the works to migrate to digital TV/radio broadcasting.
Minister listed the benefits of implementing the digital TV, including for residents of villages remote from centers of districts and cities:
“First, this is the quality of sound and image, and second, the enlarged package of TV channels. When government started the work on migration to digital on-air TV/radio broadcasting, there were people who casted doubt upon this great project. Doubts referred to the country’s vast territory and sparse population. 100 per cent coverage of remote localities and villages near international border with digital broadcasting seemed unachievable.
However, thanks to the direct instruction from the Head of State and the political will, the financial issues were resolved, which opened the door to developing the telecom industry’s infrastructure”.
For instance, the neighboring Kyrgyzstan has entirely migrated to digital broadcasting. There, 100+ radio/TV stations were enough for such migration. Full Kazakhstan territory coverage requires 827 stations, and the works are to be accomplished within short timeframe.
Digital broadcasting is not limited to addressing just technological issues, for this is also a great ideological decision.
“You may possibly know that when we took on this work, people in near-border localities could watch one or two domestic TV channels. If we entirely move to this standard, then citizens will be able to watch up to 30 digital channels at regional level and up to 15 – in villages and district center towns, i.e., the public will get access to information and programs of domestic TV channels. The domestic package will contain channels such as: news-based, for children, on culture, cinema and sports ones. This will surely have an impact on enlarging the state information policy”, Minister continued.
Another benefit is the release of radiofrequencies after migration to digital broadcasting. Based on the released frequencies, it is possible to develop new communication technologies. To do so, the full-scale work with telecom operators is in progress.
The amendments made last year to the Law “On TV/Radio Broadcasting” enable the step-by-step migration of regions as and when their infrastructure is ready:
Mangistau, Zhambyl and Turkestan regions, as well as Shymkent city: before the end of 2018.
In 2019: Almaty, Pavlodar, and Kostanai regions.
Before 2020: East Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, Karaganda, Atyrau, and Kyzylorda regions.
As to West Kazakhstan, Akmola, Aktobe regions and Astana and Almaty cities, these will migrate to the new format in 2021.
All akimats in regions have been informed about the migration timelines, and their preparation activities are in progress.
Total number of the radio/TV stations countrywide is 827, of which 356 have been built to date. Before the year-end, about 200 more are to be accomplished. The remaining stations will be built in the period 2019-2020.
Before the year-end, the construction works will be finished on all stations in those regions that are to move to digital broadcasting: Mangistau, Zhambyl, and Turkestan regions and Shymkent city. This will ensure 99 per cent coverage of the above regions’ population.
“The large-scale works on migration to digital broadcasting that previously were raising doubts have been performed.
We are planning to complete this work in 2021. That is, the vast country territory: from Vladimirovka in East Kazakhstan region to Karazhambas in Mangistau region, and from Sunnoe village in the North to Myrzakent in Turkestan region will be provided with digital broadcasting”, Dauren Abayev resumed.