Tanzania became East Africa’s first country to begin analogue TV signal switch-off after the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology announced that Dar es Salaam would be the first city in the nation to enter into the digital broadcasting system.
According to January Makamba, Deputy Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, the digital signal has already been introduced in other towns including Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Mbeya. At the end of every month through to April, the Tanzanian government will be switching off analogue broadcasting in one of the remaining regions.
Mwanza will migrate completely to digital signal by February 28. 2013, while Mwanza, Moshi and Arusha will follow suit on March 31.
Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) promised a smooth transition all over the country to avoid inconveniencing people. However, Tanzanians have been urged to purchase the set top boxes to convert analogue TV’s into digital signal compliant.
Public awareness on Digital TV started back in August 2011 when President Jakaya Kikwete inaugurated the Digital Tanzania Campaign. However, stakeholders fear that the country may not be able to achieve its internal deadline of April 2013 when it expects to have fully migrated to the digital platform, ahead of International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) global deadline of June 2015.
East African Community (EAC) members decided to go digital three years ahead of schedule to ensure they have ample time to work out any glitches before the deadline.
Kenya and Uganda are still lagging behind in the switch-off exercise, with Kenya’s process, initially slated for December 31, 2012, delayed through a court order pending hearing of a case challenging the migration.