Access to Radio Broadcasting for All – Communications Commission Expands Coverage Area
Radio broadcasting coverage will be expanded, and people will be able to listen to radio even in sparsely populated locations. The Communications Commission introduced the relevant changes to the Ordinance on the Zonal Division of Local Broadcasting today. The amended ordinance will help expand the coverage area for private radio broadcasters and promote entry of new broadcasters to the radio broadcasting market. People were unable to listen to radio in sparsely populated locations, as radio broadcasting licenses were mainly issued in larger towns.
The ordinance will ensure diversity, pluralism and competition on the radio broadcasting market, as well as effective allocation of exhaustible resources.
The changes will not affect the current radio broadcasters who are operating under 20 (10+10) year licenses.
The ordinance of the Communications Commission allocates 15 zones to radio broadcasting, that will positively affect the free frequency resources. The new zoning arrangement will provide radio coverage not only for larger towns, but also small settlements in each zone. More specifically, radio broadcasting will be possible in the following zones: Tbilisi, Kakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Stepantsminda-Gudauri, Inner Kartli, Lower Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi/Lower Svaneti, Samegrelo, Svaneti, Guria, Adjara and Abkhazia.
In accordance with the legislation, the new zoning arrangements will be followed by a public opinion poll. The Communications Commission will then publish the updated free frequency resources and hold competitions for private radio broadcasting licenses. The competitions will also be open to broadcasters whose licenses are due to expire, and who wish to renew their broadcasting licenses.