Serbia has started the digital TV switchover process, with the switching off of the first analogue transmitter at the location Vrsacki Breg.
The process will continue throughout the month of May and the entire country should be digital-only from June 15th.
The whole project is worth €37.5 million, a figure that includes a €10 million donation from the European Union. However, the Serbian state expects to earn an estimated €75 million from the sale of the “digital dividend”, i.e., by offering the vacated frequency spectrum for mobile telephony.
Digital set-top boxes are being sold for around RSD 3000 (€25), while the most vulnerable segments of the population (poor, elderly, etc.) are entitled to a voucher that will cover the cost of the new STBs.
The ASO mainly concerns the 38 per cent of the Serbian population (2.5 million) that receive TV exclusively via terrestrial means, while cable TV, IPTV and DTH subscribers will not be impacted by the changes.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina the ASO is at risk as neither the government nor the broadcasters have fulfilled their obligations as part of the process. In order to mitigate the potential consequences, the country’s Communications Regulatory Agency has announced that it will extend the validity of the existing broadcasting permits.