By Poly Pantelides
THE CYPRUS market cannot support two digital platforms, the communications minister said yesterday, following a ministerial committee meeting on the digital terrestrial television platform.
Tasos Mitsopoulos said his counterparts in the ministries of finance and interior and departmental players agreed that two platforms was one platform too many. “All of us… agree the market cannot take two digital platforms,” Mitsopoulos said.
The state’s legal services and his ministry’s department of electronic communications need to mull over legal and financial aspects to evaluate future actions, Mitsopoulos said.
But he added that a decision needed to be taken soon because channels are due to pay access fees to Velister by the end of the month, Mitsopoulos said.
State broadcaster CyBC was granted a digital platform without any competition, while a consortium of private Cypriot television broadcasters, Velister, won an auction for a second platform with a €10 million bid in 2010.
Mitsopoulos said the office of the commissioner for electronic communications already had the relevant financial data on Velister but said the ministry was due to meet with CyBC today to discuss the state broadcaster’s costs of running the platform. Mitsopoulos made it clear one of the two platforms would have to go.
“We have to find the financially better solution that will benefit the Cypriot consumer first and foremost,” Mitsopoulos said.
Cyprus switched to digital-only transmissions on July 2011 terminating all analogue transmissions ahead of a 2012 EU deadline. The switch was meant to benefit end-users by offering reception of multiple channels on a single frequency range and at a much higher quality signal. Former communications minister with the previous government, Nicos Nicolaides, had said ahead of the switchover viewers would be able to enjoy excellent image and sound quality on their televisions and have access to previously unavailable radio and television channels.