Zimbabwe may not meet 2015 digital broadcasting deadline

It has now been revealed that Zimbabwe may not meet the 2015 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline designated for analogue to digital broadcasting migration.

TransMedia, a state-owned signal carrier and broadcasting infrastructure services company is under-funded something that may make the 2015 deadline remain as a mirage and farfetched to most Zimbabweans, according to reports.

The parastatal requires close to US$30 million to construct digital transmitters.

However, with Zimbabwe grappling with one if the worst economic crises ever recorded, TransMedia was allocated only US$5 million in this year’s financial year, says the ItWebAfrica.

“As it is at the moment if we don’t get government support, it’s very unlikely that we will be able to meet the SADC 2013 deadline.” Rufaro Zaranyika, the acting chief executive officer of Transmedia said while expressing his doubts.

Rufaro added that, considering the switch to digital broadcasting is compulsory, Zimbabwe may experience a media blackout if they do not digitise on time.

This is because ITU will not be able to protect signals for countries on the analogue platform, as it currently does, by preventing countries and media houses from interfering with each other’s signals.

Rufaro is still optimistic that Zimbabwe will meet the 2015 ITU deadline.

Zimbabwe is among the many African countries still experiencing problems with the migration, a situation blamed on the high initial capital needed to construct the digital transmitters, as well as educate the citizens on the importance of the switch.

Kenya’s analogue to digital switch faces similar barriers, with the major one being the high cost of set top boxes, even after setting its own 2013 deadline.

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