From The Philter's "How's that Democracy Thing Working Out?" file, a news note from the ITAR-TASS News Agency in Russia:
Russia is expected to launch a system of digital television in Russia by the year 2015, Minister for Information Technologies and Telecommunications Leonid Reiman said on Thursday…The technology explanation is a bit fuzzy. Or maybe it didn't translate well. But 64 percent of the population with only four TV channels is a sad scenario. Is Internet TV a more likely mass market item there?
Russia is planning to employ company- operators that will ensure practical transfer to the digital format, on a competitive basis… The state will oblige these companies to broadcast the necessary social package of programs, including programs on ORT and RTR channel…
At present, the number and quality of television programs is obviously insufficient, the minister said. A critical situation might develop in that field because it is impossible to broadcast a high-quality signal through a system of satellite communications because of a large number of already existing analogue technologies. As result, around 1,700,000 people have been denied a possibility of watching TV broadcasts altogether, and around 64 percent of the population can watch no more than four television channels.
— Phil Harvey, Kremlin Gremlins Editor, Light Reading