Russian authorities consider idea to make operators of satellite TV to provide signal for free

In some aspects the television is very important like internet. Despite the different adopted digital strategies in Russia, the one negative fact still remains – not all regions in Russia are “connected to outside world” and it is not about worldwide network. Some regions in Russia don’t even have opportunity to use mobile phone or watch television. The television is not so serious problem, but the lack of communications facilities is not so positive in modern digital era.

The Russian government seeks the best options to resolve communication problems, including television. In Russia there is a mandatory TV packet of channels available for everyone. Each citizen has the right to receive certain channels (20 channels). Russian ministry of communication proposed to oblige the pay satellite operators to provide mandatory packet of free channels for free, i.e. gratuitously, where there is no traditional digital broadcasting signal available.

Certainly the satellite operators did not like it. They believe new draft law, obliging them to translate channels for free, would negatively affect their business and subscribers. Operators explained their concerns to Russian minister of communication in the letter. The proposed law can call the satellite business in Russia into question. Under the proposed law if the household is not cover by digital TV signal, it has the right to require the satellite operator to connect such household to operator’s network.

The draft law proposes the impose social responsibility in the form of TV translations on commercial organisations, whose the main business is TV translations. Such social responsibility is the subject matter of the state, but not the satellite operators. Satellite operators underline that there is no such examples like proposed law. The proposed law is “legal and economic nonsense”, the letter states. The operators, bearing transaction costs, have required to provide them with compensation for free TV translations, otherwise the subscribers would pay for those who receive TV signal for free.

Besides, the law does not provide conditions under which the operators must provide TV signal for free. The law can be interpreted in such way that if the broadcasting tower would broke, the operator can be obliged by the ministry of communication to provide the signal for free and the audience, receiving signal for free, would grow. If people would receive satellite signal for free there would not be incentive to fix the broken broadcasting tower. So as a result the satellite operators can provide their services for free to rapidly growing audience and it is not good for their business.

But the ministry of communication is not agreed with position and concerns of satellite operators. Ministry believes as long as operators provide their services in all Russian territory their already bear certain costs. The proposed law would not require satellite operators any additional costs. Moreover, the people, who are beneficiaries of proposed law, would buy receivers and any other facility in order receive free satellite signal. According to ministry it is enough for operators as compensation for “social responsibility”.

Despite the controversies between supervising authority and satellite operators, the both camps are ready to continue discussion.