Digital TV compromise, reduced tariff granted

The parties that had been at odds over the monthly tariff for local TV Stations join the Digital TV appear to have found a compromise.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Broadcasting Corporation Limited (S.B.C.L.), Galumalemana Faiesea Matafeo, told the Samoa Observer the local TV operators have been given a reduced rate.

“The digital tariff was negotiated and eventually reduced from $23,473 to $18,000 a month,” said Galumalemana.

 “The new rate effective as from December 2019, is on a trial basis for six months after which the rate will be reviewed.”

The decision follows a meeting involving Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, TV operators, Digital TV owner, Fa’amausili Andrew Ah Liki, the Office of the Regulator and other heads of Government agencies on Tuesday night.

Galumalemana said the local TV stations appreciate the consideration of their request to lower the tariff which had initially started at more than $35,000 per month.

 “With BYU [TV] resigning from the digital platform, the remaining six existing TV Operators will each have to pay $18,000 a month to S.D.C.L. [Samoa Digital Communication Limited] for the next six months when the rate is reviewed.”

According to Galumalemana, Digital TV made a counter offer for it to be granted a license to also operate a television broadcasting channel.

 “But it was denied as according to the Regulator, it is a conflict of interest,” added the C.E.O..

Regulator Lefaoali’i Unutoa Fonoti referred queries to Galumalemana when she was contacted for a comment via email.

Lefaoali’i said the Prime Minister has instructed the TV1 wner to prepare a press release about the outcome of their meeting.

Phone calls placed to S.D.C.L. Chairman, Fa’amausili Andrew Ah Liki, were not answered.

It was not possible to get a comment from other TV operations before press time last night.

Two weeks ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Samoa) Trust that operates the BYU TV station wrote to the Office of the Regulator to revoke its broadcasting license.

The church stated in the letter dated 7 November 2019 stated “after exhaustive study we have determined that it is not feasible for us to participate in the digital transition project”.

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