7,300 rubles for transition to digital television via satellite: Tatarstan budget to support only people on low incomes
Regional authorities agreed on the amount of compensation for those who can’t get access to free digital television and will have to switch to satellite television
7,300 rubles is the amount of compensation that Tatarstan authorities have fixed for the transition from analogue to digital television at the moment if digital television is available only via satellite. By the estimate of the Tatarstan Ministry of Economy, 12,500 households live in the zone beyond the reach of digital television in the republic who can receive budget subsidies to switch to satellite television. But there is still no final document on the financial assistance, this is why the allocation mechanism remains uncertain. Moreover, experts advise people to wait and not to spend their own money on forced satellite television. More is in Realnoe Vremya's report.
With amount of compensation but without allocation mechanism
Analogue television will turn off in Tatarstan on 3 June together with another 56 regions of the country. Though officials of the Tatarstan Ministry of Informatisation and Communications promises that regional TV channels (first of all, TNV and Tatarstan-24) will keep broadcasting in analogue television, federal TV channels will be unavailable for many citizens in remote rural districts of Tatarstan.
Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network Federal State Unitary Enterprise defined 157 points where digital television will be unavailable, said Deputy Minister of Economy Oleg Pelevin. According to him, about 31,000 of people, or 12,500 households, live here who will miss the chance of automatically switching to digital television. First of all, they will receive subsidies.
''The president made a decision to compensate citizens' costs for switching to satellite television,'' Pelevin said. ''7,300 rubles is the amount fixed at the moment.''
The Tatarstan office of Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network Federal State Unitary Enterprise, Radio and Television Transmitting Centre of the Republic of Tatarstan, said that Tatarstan has one of the most developed networks of digital television, which includes 87 transmitter stations, they provide a possibility of free reception of 20 national TV channels to 99,3% of citizens of the republic. But the federal operator doesn't take part in the talks to fix the amount of subsidies, the press service noted: ''It's within the expertise of the Tatarstan Ministry of Informatisation and Communications.''
''Indeed, there is a decision to pay compensation to families living beyond the reach of digital television,'' the ministry's press service confirmed. ''But the document is being created at the moment.''
It means that the allocation mechanism hasn't been defined yet. It's unclear who will be able to get the money and how or if the purchaser will have to provide bills to get the compensation: ''A corresponding regulatory document specifying the order of social assistance procedure is expected in the short run. Further details will be provided about it,'' the ministry promised.
Debates since December
We should remind that the issue of whether regional authorities will pay the compensations has been discussed since last year's early December. At the next panel session of the Ministry of Informatisation and Communications, its head Roman Shaykhutdinov claimed for the first time that the reception of a digital signal will have poor access or unavailable in all in 157 settlements of the Republic of Tatarstan. But speaker of the Tatarstan State Council Farid Mukhametshin assured that citizens would be provided with assistance and said that about 800,000 rubles were supposed to be paid as compensation from the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan.
''We would like the raise an issue about the federal budget's participation in it, as these numbers are too much for some regions. But then it's a topic for discussion of economic possibilities,'' he addressed the request to representatives of federal authorities. However, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communication and Mass Media of the Russian Federal Aleksey Volin gave to understand they shouldn't count on compensations from Moscow but they could get a 30% of discount from digital television operators. ''Indeed, there are people living beyond the reach of digital TV, it's about 1,5% of the country's population.
For this purpose, there is agreement with big satellite television operators that sets of special equipment will be supplied to people living beyond the reach of digital television with a big discount, about 30% of the market price. People who will purchase this equipment won't pay any subscription fee if channels are received,'' Volin said.
Support not for everyone, only for people on low income
But it seems that none of these options has worked. As Deputy Minister of Economy Oleg Pelevin said, not everyone cut off from digital television but only low-income families can get the budget support. The others will have to spend their own money. However, the majority of families in the countryside don't have high incomes, as the average monthly salary doesn't exceed 22,000 rubles. It's not excluded that the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan will have to pay for almost everyone beyond the reach of digital television.
MTS company said that ''MTS's digital television is the most dynamically growing operator of satellite television in Russia. The company has been working in the market for the third year. This year we don't see significant changes in demand for the product compared to the last year. We can note the fact that TV viewers living beyond the reach of ground-based digital television who will be able to watch 20 channels free if they purchase or already have the equipment prefer switching to expanded pay TV packages. We almost don't see pay TV users switching to free television.'' In other words, no discount is meant.
One can complain about difficulties when switching to digital television to Popular Control State Information System of the Republic of Tatarstan. The category Digital Television was launched in March to receive citizens' questions about this topic. A regional hotline will be set up from April till the end of the year to help citizens tune digital television equipment and get the compensation for purchasing the equipment.