From January, 2015 Georgia like other countries in the region must pass from analog to digital broadcasting. It was established in 2006 by the International Telecommunications Union Agreement.
However, the national strategy document on introduction of digital broadcasting is still under preparation, and the implementation details of digitization process and the amount of necessary financial resources are not yet specified.
Jemal Vashakidze, Deputy Head of the Department of Communication, Information Technologies and Innovations of the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development, says that the reasons are quite diverse – from technical to organizational.
“This, first of all, is conditioned by the necessity of a precise and balanced approach to the comprehensive reform. We do not want to artificially fasten the process, to say that we already have done it,” says Vashakidze. “This is not an end in itself. Digital broadcasting should provide maximum profit for broadcasters, investors and the society.”
Currently, two private companies, Silknet and Caucasus Օnline, provide digital cabel broadcasting in Georgia. Digital broadcasting enables to obtain high quality images and sound, as well as to broadcast several TV programs on the same frequency creating a number of new technical opportunities both for broadcasters and for viewers.
Gela Butbaia, who is an expert in the field of communications, says that the issue of digital broadcasting is at the level of conversations and gossips, and there is not a real developed document yet.
“I think that someone would decide that there must be digital broadcasting without a clear strategy and he will do it. I am afraid that if things go this way, then we will be late from the predetermined time," says Butbaia.
But the official from the Ministry of Economy assures that “Georgia will have digital broadcasting from January, 2015.”
The Deputy Head of the Department of Communication, Information Technologies and Innovations doesn’t, however, mention how much the digitization process will cost and where financial resources will be obtained from when there is no a developed strategy.
Vashakidze adds only that they actively work with the European Broadcasters Union and with the European Union and that they have invited experts from those organizations to study the telecommunication market of Georgia and they will take their advice into consideration when passing from analog to digital broadcasting.