Bulgaria delays analogue switch-off yet again

6 Sep 2013

The Bulgarian government has extended the deadline for the long awaited analogue TV switch-off by another two months, to 1 November 2013, local news agency Novinite reports. According to the article, the new delay comes after the European Union’s (EU’s) Court of Justice initiated proceedings against Bulgaria over the assignment of digital broadcast spectrum. The European Commission (EC) found that the procedure followed by Bulgaria was based on disproportionately restrictive award conditions, leading to the exclusion of potential candidates.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, under the EU’s Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, member states were expected to free up the ‘digital dividend’ 800MHz band for electronic communications services (including 4G LTE) via the transition from analogue to digital television by 1 January 2013, but Bulgaria missed the deadline. Bulgaria was not alone, however, and by end-July 2013 half of the EU’s member states (14) requested to postpone the use of the 800MHz band for wireless broadband due to ‘exceptional’ reasons (in Bulgaria’s case including military usage of part of the 800MHz band).