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Cablegate: Chile: Digital Tv Decision Likely Soon

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0818 2432041
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 312041Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5409

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000818

STATE FOR EEB/CIP

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS ECON PREL TSPL CI
SUBJECT: CHILE: DIGITAL TV DECISION LIKELY SOON

REF: SANTIAGO 130

1. (SBU) Summary. The Chilean Minister for Telecommunications told
the Ambassador that Chile would decide soon on a digital TV standard
and would base its decision on careful technical analysis. His
comments suggested that Chile was weighing both the U.S. and
Japanese standards, but he did not indicate a preference for either.
End summary.

2. (SBU) On August 27, the Ambassador met with Chile's Minister of
Transportation and Telecommunications to advocate for the ATSC
digital TV standard. The Ambassador noted the smooth transition to
digital TV that took place in the United States in June 2009 and
argued that the ATSC standard offers the least amount of risk to
Chilean consumers. He highlighted the ATSC's economic and technical
benefits, including lower costs for televisions and converter
boxes.

3. (SBU) Rene Cortazar, the Minister of Telecommunications and
Transportation, did not endorse any standard and stated that
President Bachelet will make the final decision. He explained that
the GOC has completed its technical analysis of the competing
standards and would make a decision before the Congress deals with a
draft law on the regulatory framework of digital TV (reftel). This
represents a change from the GOC's previous position that it would
wait to select a standard until after the draft law passed the
Congress. [Note: This change likely reflects the slow progress of
the draft law and not a preference for a particular standard. End
Note.]

4. (SBU) Cortazar showed a high level of understanding about the
issue, and suggested that Chile has learned a great deal about each
standard during its extended technical analysis. He focused the
majority of his comments on the differences between the ATSC and
Brazilian-Japanese standards, a possible indication that the
European standard is out of the running. He said there are many
factors to weigh and emphasized the need to look at the details of
each standard.

5. (SBU) Background note: On August 7, Chilean press reported that
the GOC would select the Brazilian-Japanese standard. These
reports, based on comments by the chief of staff to Brazilian
President Lula, were quickly denied by Chilean authorities.
SIMONS

[e1]Is this the main TAG for digital TV?
[e2]No space between TAGS and subject

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