Dispute over digital decoders

There is a chance that digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) in Poland will be launched for good after the summer vacations. This deadline is maintained by UKE and the Ministry of Infrastructure. For now, however, there is a dispute over the financing of the decoders themselves.

Poland’s digitalization delayed

It should be recalled that the law contains a provision according to which each cable and satellite operator will be able to expand its offer with channels available free of charge within the framework of digital terrestrial television (among others Polsat TV, which thanks to this will go to Cyfra+ and “n” television or thematic TVP stations available free of charge).

For several days, the media have been reporting that the Government Legislation Office is delaying the publication of notices sent by the National Broadcasting Council. The announcements are necessary for broadcasters to receive digital licenses and to quickly proceed with the launch of the second multiplex. The former head of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) says the tardiness in publishing the announcements could delay the launch of DVB-T in Poland by up to a year.

Another problem is a provision in the Digital Television Act that requires broadcasters to co-finance decoders. Negotiations on this issue are still ongoing between the government and the broadcasters. – TVN, Polsat, TV Puls, and TV 4 each have one analog terrestrial channel, and thanks to the digitalization, they will gain additional bandwidth and will be able to have either one HD channel, or two in standard definition. Otherwise, they would have to buy these frequencies. This is now a game of arguments,” says Deputy Minister Gaj.

For the time being it is not known which groups of Poles will receive digital decoders. There are two proposals – for persons who are exempt from the RTV subscription fee (ca. 2 million) or for persons receiving social assistance (ca. 1.3 million).

As a reminder, three multiplexes (packages with digital channels) of terrestrial digital TV are planned to be launched this year. The first one will include the channels TVP1, TVP2, TVP Info and 4 stations selected in a contest. The second multiplex will be designated for TVN, Polsat, TV4 and TV Puls; the broadcasters will be able to place their second channel alongside the basic one. In turn, the third multiplex will enable TVP to fulfil its obligation towards all the Poles to provide a full offer of thematic channels of the Polish Television.

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