Digitalisations: this is going to be the challenge in 2010-2011. All six auctions for terrestrial digital television will be simultaneously launched in the first part of the year to come, designated Communication minister Gabriel Sandu declared for HotNews.ro. The license fee for the first two digital multiplexes, to be used by 14 TV stations to broadcast free, will be 2.5 million euros. The price includes the winners' having to make available, with no charge, at least one million set-top-boxes for the poorer population.
Talking of his suitability for the role, Gabriel Sandu said: "You must be more than a critic to claim that nothing happened at the Communications Ministry (MCSI)or that I have not headed it right". In supporting his claim, he said the MCSI took over the electronic national system when it had 800 local public authorities and now it’s got 12,500. The public acquisitions electronic system was brought from 1.65% to 14% with an economy of 1.1 billion euros. he optimised Ghiseul.ro, which is currently working at its full capacity.
He cancelled 90% of the infringement for the ANCOM. The authority is economically independent, has leadership continuity and is under the Parliament's rule, three conditions he had promised to Commissioner Viviane Reding.
eRomania portal exists: eRomania1, eRomania2, eRomania3 in various stages. But the statements he made on the portal for Money Channel and HotNews.ro, though different, they both mentioned launching it in December 25. Still, it was not launched yet. He claims that eRomania2 will have 50 operational services, eRomania3 - another 50 and this means that 150 operational services will be available at the end of 2010. eRomania1 has not been implemented yet for financial reasons, but he expressed his hope of having it up and running by mid-2010. He says people will be able to pay for everything online.
According to him, when he came to the ministry’s leadership, no European money had been accessed. So far, he accessed structural funds worth of 212 million euros, despite the fact that he could have gotten 386 million euros. And he says Romanians will have an identity eCard containing all data addressing personal health.
Gabriel Sandu says one governance programme project to become reality in 2010 is supercomputing - a giant computer, worth of 77 million euros, able to test complex projects. Romania is the only South-East European country to not have supercomputing, Sand says. He wants it to test research projects: in quantum physics, nuclear physics, chemistry, economic and social policy, e-environment, e-calamities, e-health. National research institutes and several universities will be linked to supercomputing.
Sandu set up a Supercomputing National Service for combating electronic terrorism and stimulate complex nuclear processes. He restructured several governmental agencies. ASSI was reduced to 29 staff from 156 because he said many were drivers, doormen, people that were not related to the institution. He claims that the supercomputing system will be available for hire to the product testing market operators.
Regarding Commissioner Viviane Reding, Sandu says she will not keep her role, but will be replaced with even tougher lady from Netherlands.
On the shift from analogue television to terrestrial digital television, Gabriel Sandu says that the national strategy wants a 100% digital Romania until January 1, 2012. The initial discussion said that only two multiplexes were going to be on the market and the winners of the auctions would commit to have at least one million free set-top-boxes for the underprivileged areas. But the current discussions lead to the decision to bring to auction all 6 multiplexes. The reason for it, he says, is the enormous interest shown for these multiplexes. Not only Romanian, but also French and Austrian companies want to get involved, according to Sandu.
Investments in one multiplex means 60 to 350 million euros. He estimates that the action date will be known by mid-February next year. The license tax for the first two is 2.5 million euros, and for the next four - 1 million euro. The estimates indicate one million set-top-boxes for the first two multiplexes. He believes that the market will have three or four operators. Gabriel Sandu confessed the Communications minister role is the greatest challenge he's had in his 46 years of life.