Stefan Lazarevic: Waiting the final decision from the RBA for free frequency

State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications Stefan Lazarevic said today that the attitude of the Ministry is that the national frequency which is remained vacant by shutting down television “Avala” should be used for the digitalization process, but it is not yet clear whether this will happen because the RBA (Republic Broadcasting Agency) has not yet made a final decision.

Lazarevic said on the Radio Television of Serbia that a prerequisite for such a reorientation of the vacant frequencies is that the RBA on appeal does not assign this frequency to any kind of television.

He explained that the Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications made a distribution plan by which adoption frequency will be predetermined for using in the digitalization process. However, that regulation may not be adopted prior to the final decision of the RBA.

The ministry, as he explained, also, in the last years completed the development of all projects necessary for the process of digitalization, resolved all outstanding issues and concerns that have hampered the process and established effective mechanisms of coordination between institutions involved in digitalization process.

“We have got from the EU the equipment which we used for installation of initial network, but due to the lack of available frequencies we cannot use all the equipment that we have,” said Lazarevic.

According to him, if the vacant frequency was used for the digitalization process it would be ensure of coverage 60 percent of the territory of Serbia by digital signal for several months, until the end of the year up to 80 percent of the territory.

He said that the process of digitalization is the international commitment for Serbia, and that chapter ten in the negotiations with the EU that is doing telecommunications will be one of the first that should  be opened and that digitalization will be a prerequisite for its closing.

“If we do not complete the digitalization until June 17th 2015 an enormous number of our citizens who receive TV signal by analogue system could lose their TV signals, particularly we are talking about the citizens in border areas,” Lazarevic said.

He added that the process of digitalization will not cost too much our citizens and the state will help to those who are socially the most vulnerable to implement the transition to digital reception.