International airwave roundup

Russia state TV to make digital transition by 2010

RTRS, the Russian state television and radio network, will complete its transition to digital television serve by 2010, according to the network’s general director Gennady Sklyar.

According to the director, the transition, which comes as the rest of Europe has committed to making the transition by 2008, will cost about $1.9 billion.

Separately, the Russian Telecommunications Ministry has announced that it will embark on a plan to make a transition to digital satellite broadcasting, which is expected to cost $42 million.

Pakistan to loosen restrictions on private ownership of electronic media

The Pakistan federal cabinet has proposed loosening restrictions on cross ownership of media outlets by private groups.

Under the liberalized ownership scheme, owners of the nation’s newspapers and magazines will be allowed to own television and radio stations.

It is expected that 10 new licenses will be issued to establish private television channels once the measure is approved.

The goal of the liberalization is to make the dissemination of a plurality of views possible without restricting the owner of a print media outlet from owning a broadcast outlet.

Separately, Pakistan’s federal cabinet also approved deregulation of the country’s telecommunications industry to encourage foreign and Pakistani investment.

China foresees 30 million digital cable TV subscribers in two years

China has developed plans to have as many as 30 million subscribers to digital cable television service by 2005, according to a state press report.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television will divide the country into three broadcasting zones with four municipalities, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongging. The cities in the eastern zone will begin digital service before 2005, with the central and western zones to follow.

Currently, digital cable service is seen as a luxury in China, partly because digital cable decoders cost about $120. According to the report, the government acknowledges that more aggressive sales of the digital decoders will be necessary to hit its targeted deadline.

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