Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture Chimwemwe Banda has described the progress in meeting global analogue terrestrial television switch off date as a mixed bag. She said others have migrated while others have not.
Speaking in Mangochi during an official opening of the Eighth Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTT), Banda said the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set June 14 2015as a global analogue terrestrial television switch off date.
“When we look at progress in meeting the deadline, you will agree with me that it has been a mixed bag, some countries have migrated, others are almost there and others still are lagging behind,” she said.
Banda said a lot still needs to be for the Sadc region to meet the deadline.
“Let us all remember that a smooth digital broadcasting transition in the Sadc region can only be realised through a harmonised and concerted strategy,” she said.
Banda said the region will have to discuss the possibility of subsidizing set-top-boxes used in digital broadcasting to enable people buy them at a reasonable price.
“As countries, we will also conduct civic education on our people so that they should be aware of the digital migration as well as the deadline for the switch off.”
Banda appealed to all member States to work diligently and ensure that countries in the region meet the deadline and migrate for the socio-economic development of their citizens.
Since 2010, Malawi has been preparing to switch to digital, following a 2006 Geneva Conference where a declaration was made that member States migrate from analogue to digital by June 2015.
At the end of December 2013, Malawi migrated to digital and barely a week, switched off due to lack of submission of operational signals by television broadcasters.
During the time, only two out of the 20 television stations in the country had submitted their signal.
In an earlier interview digital migration coordinator in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture said government had shown commitment to fully implement the project.
He said with digital migration, television broadcasters will be relieved of the burden of transmitting signals to the public.
“Television broadcasters will have the task of ensuring that they concentrate on producing competitive content as choice of viewership will be wide. On the other hand, viewers will have a better chance to view better quality pictures and sound on television,” he said.
To access of the digital television, viewers will be required to buy set-top boxes at between $40 and $60 depending on how complex the network will be for the receiver.