Jakarta. The Indonesian government has launched a complete switch from analog television to digital since midnight on Wednesday but several broadcasters continued to air on analog channels on Thursday morning.
At least four networks belonging to media conglomeration Multi Nusantara Citra and a broadcaster under Viva Group remained available on analog televisions.
During the countdown ceremony to mark the switch to digital broadcast only, Communication and IT Minister Johnny Gerard Plate revealed that some networks remained defiant.
“I noticed that not all networks on the right side indicating analog broadcasts have turned off services so I need your cooperation for the sake of the national television broadcast industry. Nothing is personal,” Johnny said.
The minister said the migration to digital services is “a historical step” that Indonesia can finally enter the digital broadcasting era.
The government regulation on postal, broadcast and telecommunication services issued last year obliges all 25 television networks to switch to digital but it stops short of providing sanctions to those who don’t follow.
MNC Group, one of the country’s biggest media companies, has urged the government to delay the switch because there are still millions of poor families who can’t afford digital TV sets and still rely on their old TVs.
Indonesia’s digital switchover came a bit late compared to neighboring countries due to many delays in the process.
Malaysia and Singapore completed the transition in 2019, while Thailand and Vietnam followed suit in 2020. Indonesia began the first phase of the transition in April.
The government has prepared around 6.7 million digital TV converter boxes to be distributed to poor families who don’t have TV sets with digital capability, but residents in nearly 300 districts and towns may not be able to get digital services immediately due to telecommunication infrastructural constraints in the sprawling archipelago.