According to SAnews.gov.za China is a major partner in the process of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting in the African continent, says Tanzanian Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Deputy Minister, Anastazia Wambura.
“My African colleagues here today will agree with me that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is a major partner in the digital television transformation in our countries. Tanzania is proud of this revolution.
“The migration was quite challenging but with government’s will, sustainable policies and regulatory framework, we accomplished [our] analogue television switch off on 30 April 2015, whereby a total of 58 analogue television transmitters were switched off.
“The above achievement was contributed largely by the public-private partnership between Star Communication Network Technology (Star Times) from the People’s Republic of China, which in May 2009 formed a joint venture company — STARMEDIA (Tanzania) Limited — with our public service broadcaster, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC),” Wambura said.
Wambura was addressing delegates at the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation in Beijing under the theme ‘Digitisation and Development of News Media’.
She said Tanzania is a country that is 945 087 square kilometres in size, with a population approaching 50 million. Its digital television broadcasting covers 15 service areas, including the major cities of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma.
“We achieved the digital television switchover ahead of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline of 17 June 2015 and I can proudly stand here to commemorate with you all a phenomenal one year anniversary of the digital revolution,” she said.
Zambia’s Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Godfrey Malama, said the completion of digital migration has taken centre stage in media policy for governments. He said many countries in Africa are making strides to ensure that the rollout is completed as soon as possible.
“In Zambia, we believe that digitalisation of the broadcasting system will enhance the socio-economic development of the country because it will enhance our access to information and not only build capacity of the media, but also expand media diversity.
“Our government put in place a policy focusing on digital migration to guide the change process. Government further decided that the migration process must be policy driven, with enhanced government participation rather than [the process being] market driven,” he said.
Malama said this is to ensure that there is a win-win outcome for both broadcasters and signal distributors as well as the public.
“Our government took a decision to roll out the network for digital television broadcasting and it was further agreed that the operation of the network should be done by a joint venture with more than private participation.
“We are willing to buy concrete cooperation modalities with China in the digitalisation of broadcasting and continued development programmes such as training of human capital for media development,” he said.
Digital migration in South Africa
South Africa marked the start of its dual illumination period earlier this year. Dual illumination (simulcast) is the period when the new digital television signal and the old analogue signal are transmitted at the same time.
Dual illumination is a phase to ensure that all citizens of South Africa have ample time to install the set-top boxes required to receive digital television signals.
At the end of the dual illumination period, all analogue television broadcasts will cease.
The Department of Communications will announce the analogue signal switch-off date when more than 80% of households across the country have been migrated to the digital television platform.