Thu, Jul 30, 2009 - Page 3 News List

NCC postpones switch from analog TV services to digital broadcasts until 2012

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Analog terrestrial TV services will be phased out by 2012 rather than this year, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

Hong Chien-an (洪建安), a division chief at the NCC’s technologies administration division, said the original plan was to end transmission of analog signals for terrestrial TV by next year.

“We have not established enough digital broadcasting stations to offer full, nationwide coverage, so the launch of digital broadcasting services will have to be postponed,” Hong said. “It will probably take another two years.”

Hong said the plan was to have 30 digital broadcasting stations up and running before terminating analog services.

There are now 21 digital stations, he said.

Asked why it was taking longer than expected to build digital broadcasting stations, Hong said the government had experienced difficulties in obtaining property for the facilities.

Hong said the stations must be built within designated ranges to ensure the widest coverage, but that some of the desired plots belonged either to the Ministry of National Defense or county governments.

The NCC has tried negotiating for the right to buy the land.

Asked why the government would no stop analog services in the cities and counties that already have digital broadcasting stations, Hong said local governments had rejected the idea.

“We asked Taipei City and Keelung City to be the first to start, but they asked the central government to provide with complementary measures and subsidies for set-top boxes first. They said they would not shut down analog channels as long as there are still viewers.”

NCC spokesperson Lee Ta-sung (李大嵩) said yesterday that the Executive Yuan wanted to speed up the switch to digital terrestrial services and the NCC was put in charge of terminating analog services.

“The Executive Yuan feels that the arrow is on the bow,” Lee said.

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