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news 23 Aug 13

Serbia to Use Vacant Frequency for Digitalisation

Under EU pressure, the Serbian government has pledged to use Avala TV's old frequency to complete the digitalisation process.

Beta, BIRN

Stefan Lazarevic, State Secretary for Telecommunications, said the national frequency that once belonged to the TV Avala, which has closed, should be used for digitalisation.

"Before the purpose of the national frequency can be altered, the Broadcasting Agency should decide in the appeals procedure not to allocate the frequency to any broadcaster," Lazarevic said.

According to the State Secretary, the free national frequency could cover 60 per cent of Serbia's territory with a digital signal in a few months and 80 per cent of Serbia by year-end.

Brussel has put pressure on Serbia not to assign the free television channel frequency to another broadcaster but use it to test the digital signal.

The EU reminded Serbia that digitalization is an international obligation and one of the conditions for Serbia's EU accession as part of Chapter 10, on telecommunications.

Based on a contract that Serbia concluded with the European Commission, it obtained pre-accession EU funds for assistance in equipment worth 8 million euro.

The transition to digital broadcasting in television has been finalized in 21 countries in Europe.

But the process in Serbia has been slowed, partly for lack of frequencies to test network parameters and equipment to digitally air TV signals.

Serbia should have finished digitalization by April 2012, but for technical reasons this has been postponed to June 17, 2015. This date represents the final deadline to replace the analogue TV signal with digital in Europe in general.

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