While Zambian PF officials are busy loitering making allowances and fixing corruption deals on digital migration, Tanzania has successfully switched off analogue and migrated to digital terrestrial television broadcasting.
Tanzania has switched off analogue two years earlier than the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline of June 17, 2015.
Tanzania’s Minister of Communication, Science and Technology Makame Mbarawa disclosed this in Dar-es-salaam yesterday when Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mwansa Kapeya paid a courtesy call on him at his office.
Mr. Kapeya is leading a delegation of experts from Zambia on study tours to Tanzania and Kenya on digital migration.
The Zambian delegation includes Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Director for Press and Planning Beaton Kaluba, Digital Migration National Task Force chairperson Sydney Mupeta, Zambia Information and Communication Authority (ZICTA) Director of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Patrick Mutimushi and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Director of Engineering Malolela Lusambo.
Mr. Mbarawa said Tanzania switched off analogue and migrated to digital terrestrial television broadcasting on December 31st last year.
Mr. Mbarawa said December 31, 2012 was a deadline given by the East African Community (EAC) for its member countries to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting.
He said the switch off which has been regionalised started with Dar-es-salaam adding that the whole process of switch over is expected to be completed by May this year.
He said with this successful migration to digital terrestrial television broadcasting, Tanzania becomes the first country in the East African region to switch off analogue.
The minister said the switch off was not easy because most of Tanzanian nationals, both in urban and rural areas, never believed the government’s plans to switch off analogue.
“Many thought that it will never happen and so they did not take the precaution until the last day when they saw that the switch off will go ahead as planned,” said Mr. Mbarawa.
He said that some Tanzanian nationals were shocked when they saw analogue switching off at exactly 24:00 hours on the night of December 31, 2012 as planned by the government.
Mr. Mbarawa said sensitization campaigns on the planned switch off of analogue and migrate to digital was carried out in the entire country prior to the switch off but many never believed that it would happen.
He added that few days before the planned switch off, long queues were formed at various outlets selling the set-top boxes because it had now become evident that the planned switch off was true.
He charged that the switch off from analogue to digital had the full support of the President of Tanzania adding that he was happy that there was political will from the Zambian government to migrate to digital terrestrial television broadcasting.
Mr. Mbarawa said the digital signal was riding on the optic fibre network system backbone which has been successfully installed in all the districts in the country.
The optic fibre network has been connected to Zambia through Nakonde district in Muchinga Province.
And Mr. Kapeya said the Zambian delegation was in the country to learn how the plans for digital migration were done.
He said the team decided to visit Tanzania having received information that the East African country had successfully migrated from analogue to digital adding that lessons learnt from that country will be implemented in Zambia.
Mr. Kapeya said the team was expected to visit Kenya on a similar assignment.
Zambia, like other countries in the African continent, set to change the terrestrial television broadcasting platform from analogue to digital.
According to Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga, Zambia will meet the ITU deadline of June 15, 2015.
Mr. Malupenga said Zambia will this year only manage to partially migrate due to financial constraints.