As has been previously reported, the Turkmenistan's authorities, under the pretext of improving the appearance of residential buildings, has started dismantling satellite antennae, via which the inhabitants could watch foreign satellite TV channels.
In return the authorities pledged to provide the residents with cable television with a choice of 500 satellite television channels.
In the course of "dishes" dismantling it became clear that the President's unconsidered decision to "refine" the city's appearance was hindered by the unreasonable high expenditures from the federal budget. For instance, a device to transmit a TV signal to 18 apartment costs about 800 dollars, to 24 apartments – about 1000 dollars.
Taken into account expenses to install cable networks and purchase other relevant equipment the cost of a single (unified) "dish" will be significantly increased.
In the beginning the authorities used equipment forcedly confiscated from the small-scale businesses and individual entrepreneurs that were virtually rendering cable television services in densely-populated Ashgabat districts on a semi-legal basis. Yet, this limited resource was shortly exhausted. No additional funding to purchase and install equipment for cable networks was allocated to the Ministry of Communications and consequently all works will be restricted to antennae dismantling only along the so-called "protocol highways" - the streets visited by the Turkmen President and high-ranking foreign visitors.
When asked when the authorities proceed with the installation of unified "dishes" in the remaining residential properties, the Ministry staff members reply that they expect financing but it is not yet available. Furthermore, the authorities have not yet paid small-scale entrepreneurs for the equipment confiscated from them.