Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Stanley Simataa says the country’s migration from analogue to digital has revolutionised the scope of broadcasting in Africa.
Digital migration – which is seen as a costly exercise – entails the migration of
services from the analogue format to the digital terrestrial television and radio platforms.
Simataa made the remarks in Walvis Bay in Namibia on Tuesday at the ninth SADC Digital Broadcasting Migration Forum.
Over 100 delegates attended the forum that ended late on Tuesday drawn from 11 SADC member states, namely, Angola, Botswana, Kingdom of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Simataa reminded delegates that six years ago, SADC ICT ministers converged on the coastal town of Swakopmund in Namibia where they adopted the SADC Roadmap on Digital Broadcasting Migration in order to guide member states to make a smooth analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) transition.
Simataa noted that although SADC member states are at different stages of digital migration, “the SADC Roadmap has undoubtedly served well as a compass that has illuminated and galvanised the SADC region’s digital migration endeavours”. “The subsequent setup of the SADC DTT Project Management Office (PMO) has given many member states the much needed technical traction to pursue the migration process with confidence,” he stressed.
Simataa applauded SADC member states for having set the migration process in motion and requested that they continue to have faith in the SADC Roadmap.
The permanent secretary for information, communication technology in Zimbabwe, Dr Samuel Kundishora, thanked SADC member states for having started and having made considerable progress towards economic development. He said the progress made thus far indicates a strong determination to comply with the goals of SADC and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He said a key issue that needs to be addressed is the future of broadcasting in light of the future spectrum requirements and bridging the digital divide not to forget cultural, educational and regional and regional integration.
He said it should remain SADC’s goal to have all the radio and television stations migrating to digital from analogue by 2027.
Speaking at the same event the mayor of Walvis Bay, Uilika Nambahu welcomed all delegates to the coastal town and in the same vein congratulated SADC member states, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia and the Republic of Tanzania “for having met the ITU Analogue Switch Off (ASO) deadline”.
In 2006, the ITU resolved at a regional radio communications conference that all countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East should migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting services by the deadline of June 17, 2015.