Access Gap to Technology and Usage of Media Contents: A Study on Tijuana´s Digital Blackout

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:10 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Juan Carlos BARRON PASTOR , Ceiich, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Reo HIROTA , Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
We will show data related to an investigation-in-process related to the digital blackout that was applied in Tijuana, México last year. There is a worldwide tendency to shift TV telecommunication from analog to digital. In 2004 the Mexican government adopted the North American Advanced Television Systems Committee (ADTSC) to start the migration from the current TV analog system to a digital one. The city selected to start this process in this country was Tijuana. This decision was made due to the supposition that a border city such as Tijuana would find it easier to transfer technology from United States and could adapt them to the proposed shift. This did not happen. The project presented several delays and delivering devices to adapt digital transmission to analog TV’s demonstrated that the estimations of the number of people with access to analog TV were miscalculated.
After years of delays, the blackout did finally happened on 2013, however there are now many doubts about how this could affect social inequalities, as perhaps 7% of the population in Tijuana has now lost access to TV. Studies on social inequalities have recently focused on the problem of access to different forms of social capital (cf. Rodríguez Gallardo, 2006). Nevertheless, what does it mean for social inequalities to shut down the TV? Particularly, how does access to telecommunications and media affect social capital? Does being able to watch TV diminish social capital as a consequence of individualizing free-time, or does it increase it through a sharing of experience that allows connectivity to society and the world? In this presentation we seek to discuss the practical problems to approach this phenomenon and to reflect on the possible implications they have on a better understanding of the inequality gap on access to communications technology and contents.