Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Civic Education James Kalirangwe said this at the weekend on the sidelines of a Digital Broadcasting Steering Committee Meeting in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commercial city, Blantyre.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set June 15 2015 as the deadline for all countries to migrate to digital television transmission.
Sadc member states, to which Malawi is a member, set December 31 2013 as the deadline for countries within the region to have migrated to digital television transmission.
Kalirangwe said with barely more than a year to the Sadc deadline, Malawi is at an advanced stage with preparations for the migration.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have more than a year and this is a very capital intensive project and there are a number of policy decisions that need to be made. We are speeding up the process.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“More particularly are the implications to the ordinary Malawians. Most of the television sets that we have now may not operate on digital programmes, so it will be necessary to have a specialised box.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now the question is who should pay for this box? Some people have said, no, the box should be subsidised or rather let everybody pay for himself. If it is expensive, it might affect the public broadcaster because we would like our public programmes to reach out to the rural masses; Those who are not good financially. Now how do we achieve that objective? These are some of the questions that the committee is trying to look at,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kalirangwe.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) public relations manager Zadziko Mankhambo said the migration will affect television sets which have no built-in digital tuners.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“These are mostly the old ones,Ã¢â‚¬Â saidÃ‚Â Mankhambo.