ZIMBABWEANS do not need to panic in view of fears that the country may fail to beat the international deadline for switching over from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2015, a government official has said.
Report by Jennifer Dube
In an interview in Masvingo last week, the director of Urban Communications in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, retired major Anywhere Mutambudzi, said although funding had been a major constraint, government was working to comply with the international Telecommunications Union directive.
He said of the 24 broadcasting transmitters in the country, the last four to be put up were already digitally compliant. “We are looking at expanding the current broadcasting transmitter network to 48 sites, a development that will see the coverage of the whole territory of Zimbabwe,” said Mutambudzi.
He said although there had been fears that many people were not aware of the impending digital changeover, as they continued to buy analogue receivers, there was no need to worry as the region had plans to minimise the negative impact of the process.
“All they will need is a set-top box (STB), which is a decoder to change the signal from analogue to digital and when mass produced, this box can cost as little as US$20,” said Mutambudzi.
“The region will collectively come up with a way of producing STBs that are regionally compliant. There will be need to establish a manufacturing plant for those boxes within the region.”
The digital broadcasting transition, also called the digital switch-over or analogue switch-off, is the process in which analogue broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting uses digital data rather than analogue waveforms to carry broadcasts over television channels or assigned radio frequency bands.
The ITU has directed that member states should migrate to digital broadcasting by 2015, but Sadc has set its own deadline of 2013.
Zimbabwe is unlikely to meet the regional deadline and there are fears the country could be heading for chaos, as the deadline may arrive before the country has fully implemented its migration plan.