Beyond the reach: 160 Tatarstan villages won’t have digital TV, who will pay for satellite TV?
The republic allocated 4,2 million rubles to compensate those who don’t have the technological capability to switch to the new format of television
Tatarstan together with all Russia was to turn off analogue television and switch to digital on 3 June. However, the deadline for the transition to the new TV format was cancelled at the last minute and postponed to October. Nevertheless, almost the whole republic is ready to watch digital television (99,3% of the population). And only over 30,000 residents of Tatarstan from 32 districts turned out beyond the reach of the digital signal. They all will have to switch to satellite TV. The government is ready to pay compensation to those who won’t be able to bear the burden, but it’s only for needy families with per capita income below the minimum wage. Functionaries counted about 500 households of this kind. The biggest possible compensation for costs on installation of a satellite dish will be 7,300 rubles. Payments will start to be made on presentation of a bill. More is in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
Pesoshin splurges on satellite dish
160 Tatarstan villages in 32 districts turned out beyond the reach of digital television. If not the postponement of the turn-off of analogue TV to October, these villagers would have to switch to satellite television from the next week to be able to go on watching TV. The list of settlements affected by these restrictions is on the website of the Tatarstan Ministry of Informatisation and Communications.
The government is going to offset costs on installing a satellite dish to residents from the mentioned villages, but only low-income citizens. They already can file applications to get the compensation. As Realnoe Vremya found out, Tatarstan Prime Minister Aleksey Pesoshin signed an order to allocate 7,5 million rubles on this purpose. Not the regional budget itself but the reserve fund of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan was chosen as their source, as the costs hadn't been considered by the Tatarstan Ministry of Finance beforehand.
“This year, Tatarstan will completely switch from analogue to digital television. Residents of the republic will get access to 20 HD channels,” the press service of the Tatarstan Ministry of Informatisation and Communications explained. “But, unfortunately, the digital television signal won’t be strong, and residents of these villages will have to put a satellite dish. Full compensation for a purchase sets of satellite equipment in accordance with the corresponding order of the Tatarstan Cabinet Ministers is provided for residents of these villages and settlements.
The modest budget is now at the disposal of the Tatarstan Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, which will make the payments. But, according to the order, social protection agencies aren’t given the 7,5 million rubles but less, 4,124 million rubles. However, the ministry assures that it is quite enough to compensate all the needy in 160 villages. In addition, some mobile operators announce promo offers to purchase a satellite dish for up to 4,000 rubles.
Through double sieve
Two filters have been introduced to select the payment receivers. The first one is according to their place of residence. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection pointed out that the compensation won’t be given to all settlements, only those beyond the reach of digital television. The second filter is based on poverty criterion. The one whose per capita income is below the minimum wage can count on the compensation. It is 9,170 rubles per person in the first quarter this year, the ministry said. As a result, by the ministry’s estimate, the money given by the government will be enough to pay to 500 households.
The ceiling of the compensation is 7,300 rubles, the Tatarstan Ministry of Labour and Social Protection confirmed. The payment mechanism is refundable. In other words, a family has to purchase a satellite dish itself, install it and show the bill, then its costs will be paid from the treasure, not the other way around. “Compensation is paid on the basis of actual expenses, but not more than 7,300 rubles per household. It’s the cap. There are different antennas as well as television. It is a matter of taste,” the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection thinks.
The communications ministry is convinced that the limit cap will completely cover the costs. Moreover, when activating satellite television services, residents of such settlements won’t pay the subscription fee for 20 TV channels in multiplex, the press service of the Tatarstan Ministry of Informatisation and Communications assured.
They will come, wait
How will documents from the needy be collected? The labour and social protection ministry explained that specialists themselves are going to villages and settlements to collect documents and insert data in Social Roster information system. The information system itself will be launched on 1 June. By the way, the communications ministry allocated over 2 million rubles to improve it. Documents will be accepted until 1 December.
It should be reminded that Tatarstan together with other 56 regions planned to turn off analogue television on 3 June, now this date has been postponed to 14 October. Though officials of the Tatarstan communications ministry promise that regional TV channels (first of all, TNV and Tatarstan-24) will go on broadcasting in the previous format, federal channels won’t be available in analogue television any more.
The issue of compensation has been discussed since last year’s early December. At the final session of the Ministry of Informatisation and Communications, its head Roman Shaikhutdinov claimed for the first time that the signal of digital television will be weak or unavailable in 157 settlements of the Republic of Tatarstan. After that, speaker of the Tatarstan State Council Farid Mukhametshin assured that citizens would receive help and said that about 800 people hoped to get the compensation from the Tatarstan budget. Later this number changed. Vice Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Oleg Pelevin has recently said that about 31,000 people, or 12,500 households, that miss an opportunity for automatic transition to digital television, were beyond the reach of digital television signal. First of all, they will receive the subsidies.
“The president made a decision to compensate for citizens’ expenses on satellite television,” Pelevin said. “A sum of 7,300 was defined 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 had one of the most developed digital television networks, which includes 87 transmitting stations, they provide 99,3% of residents of the republic with free 20 national TV channels. But the federal operator doesn’t participate in talks on fixing the budget and amount of subsidies.