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IRIS 2017-1:1/5

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Public TV services start digital broadcasting

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Radenko Udovičić

Media Plan Institute, Sarajevo

On 14 October 2016, digital TV signal started being delivered through terrestrial transmitters after several postponements (see IRIS 2016-10:1/5). However, this so-called “test broadcasting” covers only the Sarajevo-, Banja Luka-, and Mostar regions, and is only related to Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) which operate in Multiplex A. This completes the first phase of the digitalisation of transmission and emission equipment. In the next stage, it is planned that the digital signal will cover the remaining six digital areas, i.e. the whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Citizens who have older generation TV sets are being advised not to buy receivers for the reception of the digital signal until the matter of funding and procurement of suitable receivers is resolved. PBS will continue with analogous broadcasting of their programmes, so that citizens whom the digital signal does not reach in this phase of digitalisation will not be left without reception.

The Communications Regulatory Agency, in charge of overseeing the operation of electronic media, has said that in addition to the continuation of digital broadcasting by PBS, particular attention should be given to resolving the matter of digital broadcasting by other TV stations. Therefore, the adoption of relevant decisions by the Council of Ministers on the transition to the DVBT2 standard and on the further use of Multiplex A and other frequencies intended for digital broadcasting is important.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is the only country in Europe that does not have digital TV broadcasting for the whole territory. It even missed the deadline of 15 June 2015 set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations (UN) as the final date for the switch to digital broadcasting worldwide. Activities in preparation for the switch to digital broadcasting in Bosnia-Herzegovina started in 2009. However, due to numerous technical, procedural, and political problems, the process is not yet completed. Clients of telecom and cable operators have HD signals for a large number of televisions, so for digitization through the transmitter only interested citizens in rural areas.

However, digitalisation is not the only problem that the public broadcast system is facing. The PBS lost the possibility to efficiently collect the TV tax fee after the Parliament did not extend the current model of collecting the tax fee (see IRIS 2016-9:1/8).

References
Počelo testno emitiranje digitalnog signala u BiH BS
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18273
 
  Further information on the start of the digital broadcasting