Stereo + has been declared the winner of the contest announced for the construction of multiplex to secure digital switchover. The company was the only contester. Until June 17, 2105 Stereo + shall ensure the construction of the infrastructure and dissemination of the broadcasting signal nationwide. From March 15, 2015 simulcast process is to be launched, this is to say, simultaneous broadcast of digital as well as analog mediums will be conducted. According to Davit Zilpimiani of Stereo + throughout the project the company founders will make an investment of 10 mln. Stereo + is currently owned by Italian citizen Luca Severini and Giorgi Khitarishvili, 50 percent each.
In the course of the digital switchover the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is quite possible to render assistance to the contest winner. Reporting to Media.Ge Davit Zilpimiani said at this stage concrete amount and particulars are unclear, consultations with the EBRD are to start in the nearest future.
Stereo + had applied for three lots, later on though the company withdrew two of the applications, maintaining the application for the only lot such as B+2 to provide dissemination of channels across the country . Each broadcaster will be charged GEL 8,900 for 1mg/sec. Stereo + obtained the total of three licenses whose price totals GEL 3,000. Upon the payment of this amount the license will be officially issued.
Within the framework of the MUX – C and MUX – D licenses Stereo + will be authorized to disseminate broadcasting signal through open air as well as for commercial purposes (Pay TV). However, Davit Zilpimiani says one of two licenses will be non-encrypted and customers will have free access to the signal.
Rustavi 2-founded Mux LLC had been running for the contest. The company had applied for A+0 lot, which provided for the dissemination of regional channels in local zones, but a day prior to the announcement of the contest winner, Mux LLC refused to participate in the contest, citing financial issues as a reason of refusal.
According to the GNCC chairman Vakhtang Abashidze the Commission will try its best to help promote the switchover process. The fate of regional TV broadcasters is under question mark, therefore he is going t meet with the regional broadcasters to discuss the issue.
Natia Kuprashvili, Executive Director, Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) says the regional broadcasters have the only way out – to construct multiplexes themselves to be carried within the same zones they are currently broadcasting in.
“Once again we got sure how much important it is that our claim was taken into account when developing the strategy and local televisions are able to set up multiplexes on their own, unless otherwise regional broadcasting would be left hanging in the air. We have certain activities launched, we are waiting for the publication of the needed data by certain agencies. The reimbursement of the license fees is to be immediately addressed as well,” Natia Kuprashvili told Media.Ge. She believes that the contest for the construction of A multiplex should be announced anew since the presence of the alternative resource is crucial not for the regional broadcasters only but media in general.
The Commission is authorized to, either following other person’s request or upon its own initiative, announce contest for the lots with no applications received within the framework of the contest that drew to a close on July 1.