Government has reduced the price of digital terrestrial decoders from K15 000 (about $23) to K13 500 (about $21), marking a renewed commitment to ensure that the country migrates to digital broadcasting by December this year.
Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati announced the price cut when she launched the rebranded Kiliye Kileye Decoder at Mzuzu Stadium upper ground on Saturday.
The news was greeted with massive excitement as Malawi Digital Broadcast Network Limited (MDBNL) was forced to call for more decoders from Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) after a consignment of 60 was sold out at the venue.
However, the decoders are hugely subsidised, with the landing cost estimated at K33 000 each.
Malawi was supposed to switch off analogue television transmitters by June 17 last year, the deadline set by United Nations (UN) member States at an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meet in 2006.
This time around, plans are underway to switch off the analogue transmitter at Msongwe in Mzuzu on June 30.
The analogue switch-off will begin in Mzuzu in recognition of the prevailing enthusiasm as the city’s residents have bought the majority of the 30 000 decoders sold so far, according to Kaliati.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) board chairperson Mervis Mangulenje rallied Malawians to buy the digital decoders not only because they offer viewers crystal clear sound and pictures.
Digital broadcasting is also credited with freeing up the spectrum as the frequency for one analogue channel takes up to 20 digital channels. n