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Jakarta Post

Digital killed the analog star: Minister calls for TV transformation

  • Eisya A. Eloksari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 8, 2020   /   08:02 am
Digital killed the analog star: Minister calls for TV transformation A family watches television in their home in Deli, Serdang, North Sumatra, on April 13. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

The government is calling for private television broadcasters to comply with a national plan to convert analog television to digital television, also known as the analog switch-off (ASO), as Indonesia lags behind regional peers in the digital migration.

Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate said switching to digital television would allow people to get better sound and images and would enable broadcasters to provide more channels.

“If broadcasters do not comply with this program, then they are hindering the government in its acceleration of the digital transformation,” he said during a video press conference on Monday.

Malaysia and Singapore made television fully digital in 2019, while Thailand and Vietnam are planning to finish by the end of this year. Japan and South Korea finished their ASOs in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

About 70 percent of Indonesian citizens still use analog television, and there are 1,027 public, private and community broadcasters who use the technology, Johnny said.

So far only state-owned television broadcaster TVRI has started the conversion to digital signal.

“This is ironic since we already have smart televisions and smartphones, but our broadcasting technology is not up to date,” he said.

By migrating to digital, Indonesia can get 112-megahertz of digital dividends, which Johnny said could be used to expand broadband internet coverage.

He said the government was finishing primary legislation for the “digital acceleration”, including the cyber defense and security bill and a revision to the broadcasting law.

However, the House of Representative recently dropped both bills from the 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.

The revised broadcasting bill, which includes regulations for the ASO, was introduced in the 2009-2014 Prolegnas and was included again in the following term but has not seen significant progress.

The government has set an ASO deadline in the omnibus bill on job creation of no more than two years after the omnibus bill comes into effect. (eyc)