The Government announced Friday afternoon that it will delay for at least 20 months the change of the free and open television channels from analog to digital. That transition will now be by the end of 2019.

The change promises significant improvements in the quality of the transmission.

Edwin Estrada, the vice-minister of telecommunications, argued “reasonableness and proportionality” in the decision to delay the changeover.

According to Estrada, the necessary conditions necessary for a successful transition are still not met. Given that, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) noted that if the changeover occurred on December 15 as originally planned, it could prevent many from accessing information on the electoral campaign for the 2018 presidential elections.

In Costa Rica, 31% of the homes still use the free and open television signal (antenna), according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).

The TSE noted to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (Micitt) that it must guarantee the right (of the citizenry) to be informed, and one of the means is by way of the open television signal.

Another fundamental reason for postponing the changeover from analog to digital television, in a mid-year survey, the Micitt found that, in general, the population did not know the process.

Estrada noted Hurricane Otto last November and Tropical Storm Nate last month directly hit areas with wide use of analog television signal Thousands of families were affected by the disasters.

The changeover does affect pay television, they already transmitting in digital format.

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