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Analog switch-off to start on May 28

Bnamericas Published: Monday, May 27, 2013
Mexico will start on May 28 the switch-off of analog TV in Tijuana, Baja California, after suffering a delay of over a month. The original date for the switch-off was delayed from April 16 to verify the results reported by Teletec de México, contracted to provide decoders and antennas for digital terrestrial television (DTT) reception in Tijuana. In Mexico, TV is the main source of information for many people, with the average household watching 4.45 hours a day. To facilitate the migration to digital TV, the Mexican government is subsidizing the installation of digital decoders for lower income families. The government contracted Teletec to carry out visits to "target homes," or homes which were unequipped for DTT and could only receive open TV channels, to verify that they qualify for free installation, a process that ran from December to March. Studies forecasted that some 200,000 homes needed subsidies, at a cost of some 300mn pesos (US$24mn). According to telecoms regulator Cofetel, the DTT penetration level in Tijuana has increased to 93.1% from 3.4% in April 2012. In May 2012, telecoms regulator Cofetel confirmed December 31, 2015 as the national analog TV switch-off date. However, Cofetel head Mony de Swaan said in January that the country may struggle to meet that date because subsidies for digital set top boxes had not been included in the 2013 budget. The Mexican government plans to switch off open analog TV gradually in different cities starting in Tijuana. With the introduction of digital TV Mexico expects to clean the 700MHz band currently used for analog TV, and then re-auction the band for 4G mobile services. This month Cofetel said that it is likely to delay the switch-off of analog TV in the five border cities in northern Mexico that were supposed to follow Tijuana - Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, Monterrey (Nuevo León state) and Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua state) - on November 26, 2013, due to a 1.3bn-1.6bn peso (US$105mn-130mn) funding gap.

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