ASUNCION – Paraguay has “the chance to adapt to digital television” and shut down once and for all the dated analogue signal currently used in the South American country, the president of the National Telecommunications Commission, or Conatel, Teresita Palacios, told EFE.
Conatel, the state agency in charge of Paraguay’s telecom sector, has set Dec. 31, 2020, as the date for the analogue shut-down, after previously planning to end it in 2024.
Palacios acknowledged that Paraguay was late getting started with 4G mobile Internet technology and doesn’t want the same thing to happen with digital terrestrial television, or DTTV, so that the country can join in with others in the region like Chile and Uruguay, also planning their switch over the next few years.
The official said that four years is enough for adaptation to the signal, and for telecom media and citizens’ equipment to start receiving DTTV.
“In principle the analogue shut-down will take place in four years. That doesn’t mean that any channel that wants to go digital can’t do it now – they definitely can,” Palacios said.
However, bringing the digital implementation date forward to 2020 has sparked complaints among national TV channels, though the state network considers the time sufficient for carrying out the adaptation process.
“We had drawn up a plan saying operators had until 2014 to reserve the digital channels, so that Conatel could plan for them,” Palacios said.
She said they are therefore aware that “a significant investment has been made in the channels to enable their adaptation to digital television, and so we invite the analogue channels to join in and get with the digital era.”
To promote that adaptation, Palacios said the seven channels that currently retransmit nationwide on the analogue frequency will not have to bid for the digital channels, and will therefore have no expenses in that regard.
But, she said, “they will have to spend money to have the right equipment, that’s logical.”
The frequencies that remain free will be up for bids and Conatel will stipulate reasons why domestic productions are needed on them.
“We’re doing everything possible so that (Paraguayan) creatives have the chance to air their productions,” Palacios said.
As for viewers, Palacio noted that the market for analogue televisions, which are imported, is being regulated to avoid any more sets of this kind entering Paraguay after February 2017, while sales of TVs adapted to the new era will be favored.