National Unit Radio and TV Systems (NURTS) Digital, one of the digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex operators in Bulgaria, has announced that 96.2% of the population in the country have access to a Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) broadcasting signal after the official shut-down of analogue television on 1 October 2013. NURTS’ CEO Svilen Popov said: ’According to the legislative requirements, and as per the plan for introduction of DVB-T in Bulgaria, we were obliged to cover 95% of the population of the country. With our own means and funds we provided even better coverage’. The executive added that some 100,000 people, who live in sparsely populated and hardly accessible parts of the country do not currently have access to DVB-T.
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).