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Deadline for switching off the analog signal in Brasilia and surrounding area extended

The deadline for switching off the analog television signal in Brasília and the surrounding area has been extended. Scheduled for October 26, broadcasters now have another 20 days to opt for voluntary switch-off by November 17. The reason was the standoff among the entities responsible for the switch-off, since in their understanding, many television viewers were still not equipped to receive the digital signal.

Now, according to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC), the 13 TV generators and the 12 relay stations in the region have the option, not the obligation, to close down analog signal transmissions. A new meeting of the Gired (Group for Implementing the TV and RTV Channel Redistribution and Digitalization Process) – consisting of Anatel, the MCTIC, and representatives of broadcasters and communication companies – on November 16, will discuss the definitive switch-off.

The Gired, Abert (the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Channels) and Abratel (the Brazilian Radio and Television Association) issued statements justifying their positions regarding the change in the mandatory switch-off.

According to the Gired, “the decision (to extend the deadline) was taken because the minimum number of homes equipped to receive the digital TV signal has not reached the minimum percentages. The most recent Ibope survey indicated that 89% of homes were equipped, reaching 90% in the forecast”, according to the publication.

On the previous day, Abert had issued an official note to the press, alleging that Ordinance 481/2014 from the Ministry of Communications is not being complied with” since “According to Article 1, the switch-off of analog transmissions is conditional on at least 93% of homes that access the free-to-air, cost-free terrestrial transmission service being equipped to receive terrestrial digital television (…) at GIRED meetings, it was agreed to consider a margin of error in the pro-switch-off polling surveys which, in practiced, reduce the rate to 90%. However, not even this figure was achieved”, says the note.

Abratel, in turn, asserted that “TV Record, which was working to stick to the timetable of October 26 because it wanted Brasilia to effectively operate as a pilot city in order to ascertain the completeness of the switch-off experience, following the Gired meeting decided to join forces with the other broadcasters and will only disconnect its analog signals on the last day of the deadline period”.

With the extension, the switch-off is likely to be negotiated directly between the MCTIC and the TV stations.

In the meantime, residents of Brasília and the cities of Águas Lindas de Goiás, Cidade Ocidental, Cristalina, Formosa, Luziânia, Novo Gama, Planaltina de Goiás, Santo Antônio do Descoberto and Valparaíso de Goiás, all in the State of Goias, who have not yet acquired their conversion kits and who tune into a channel already disconnected, will see a notice that transmissions are only available in digital signals. According to the Ministry of Communications, analog channels that continue on the air “will carry constant notices about the migration, such as the letter ‘A’ in a corner of the screen and an information footer”.

By November 17, the MCTIC expects digital coverage to reach 93% of potential viewers.