Free digital set-top boxes for the needy

Free digital set-top boxes for the needy

The Media Development Authority (MDA) launched an assistance scheme yesterday to ensure that these homes will keep getting free-to-air TV channels after Singapore switches to digital broadcasting.

MDA-appointed telco M1 will install the digital set-top box and antenna for existing TV sets in homes to allow them to receive the digital signals.

Alternatively, households may collect the equipment from M1 shops and install it themselves.

The bill will be picked up by the Government. A typical digital set-top box and antenna now retails for about $130, The Straits Times reported on its website.

"It is important that no one is left behind in this effort because once we roll over to digital with Singapore fully covered, we will switch off analogue (transmission)", said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim.

Some 24,000 households who will get automatic assistance will be notified by mail over the next few days.

The Digital TV Assistance Scheme, announced earlier this year, will also be extended to households that have no pay-TV subscription or integrated digital television, and who have a monthly household income of $1,900 and below.

But they need to apply to be included in the scheme.

For households with no income, the property must have an annual value of $13,000 and below and must have at least one family member who is a citizen. Details are available on MDA's website.

Application forms are also available at community and self-help centres, as well as Housing Board offices.

This article was first published on September 30, 2014.
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