The Latvian government officially confirmed the results of a tender process granting Lattelecom the right to build out and operate digital terrestrial TV in Latvia. The government decision stipulates that Lattelecom must sign an agreement with the Latvian State Radio and Television Center to use the state-owned network of broadcast towers for implementing the digital conversion. The process must be finished by 2013 and deliver the digital signal to 99 % of the territory of Latvia.
Although Latvia started working on digital television in the early 2000s, the first project was beset by scandals and cancelled, with most of those involved presently on trial on various criminal fraud charges. While some government officials may have exceeded their authority and known of the concealed offshore involvement of Latvian businessmen in the aborted project, private sector actors maintain that they delivered all that was contracted for and therefore have committed no fraud.
The delays mean that Latvia will be among the last countries in Europe to implement digital TV. Most urban dwellers in Latvia view TV through cable networks and are unaffected by the analog-to-digital switch on the terrestrial broadcast network. The change will mainly affect remote rural areas and views unable to afford satellite dishes. This is seen as an audience with relatively low purchasing power.