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Russian pay-DTT prospect concerns

The Russian cable association (AKTR) has sent a letter to president-elect Vladimir Putin expressing its concerns about the possibility of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRS) creating a state-funded pay-DTT operation.

According to Vedomosti, RTRS has taken the first steps in this direction by planning to adopt a conditional access system.

This, in the view of AKTR, would eventually require a considerable increase in the digitisation budget for 2009-15, which has been set at R123.6 billion ($US4.2 billion), of which R74.4 billion($US2.5billion) will come from federal funds.

Russia’s pay-TV market is close to saturation, with 50 percent of households already receiving services as of last year, and AKTR’s fears are shared by MTS, one of the country’s leading providers of pay-TV services.