Panama does not reach the percentage of STBs for DTT needed to start the analog blackout

According to the information reported on several specialized websites, the Panamanian Autoridad de los Servicios Publicos (ASEP), entity in charge of regulating the telecommunications market in the country, had to put the analog blackout off again, whose first phase was scheduled to begin on June 1st in Panama, Panama Oeste and Colon.

According to the information reported, the decision was taken due to the fact that the results of the DTT STBs penetration measurements in the already mentioned Panamanian provinces ‘are not enough’’ to implement the analog blackout. To migrate to DTT, 90% of the population of Panama must have the appropriate equipment.

The results of DTT STBs penetration results in households made by the Ipsos company  reported that, of the selected sample, 41% of  households with FTA TV have at least one digital TV device. Despite this, the percentage reached is not enough to start the DTT migration, according to previously established parameters.

In February 2020, ASEP published a resolution, through which it established October 1st, 2020 as the date to start the first step of the analog blackout in Panama, Panama Oeste and Colon, using the DVB-T standard. Later, the entity published a new resolution on September 30th, 2020, by which it decided to postpone the date to June 1st, 2021, ‘due to the difficulties of restriction of mobility and quarantine decreed by the health authorities due to Covid -19, which have delayed the evaluations to verify that households have devices to receive the digital TV channels established in the regulations’.

Panamanian DTT transition plan involves four steps. Apart from the already mentioned phase 1 (provinces of Panama, Panama Oeste and Colon), the analog blackout will be implemented in phase 2 (Cocle, Herrera, Los Santos and Veraguas); phase 3 (Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro), and phase 4 (Darien). In order to start the migration, 90% of the population of each region must have appropriate equipment.