Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should address the immediate challenges such as the lack of local content brought by digital migration.
Many countries across the world are racing to move from analogue television to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) after missing the June 17, 2015, migration deadline.
Addressing his counterparts from various SADC countries during the meeting of SADC ministers for communications, information and communication technology (ICT) and postal services on Friday at Walvis Bay, Tweya said the availability of local content is one of the immediate challenges as a result of the digital migration deadline of June 17, 2015.
Due to the migration, a lot of channels were created and SADC countries should strive to fill this with TV content generated from the region.
“We need local content. Our people must tell their own stories in their own way. It does not help us in any way to create more channels but continue to watch other people’s content. We need to tell our own stories and take ownership of our content. I am therefore happy to announce that the region is now looking at filling this gap through the SADC TV Bouquet and Namibia remains committed and ready to host the bouquet,” the minister said on Friday.
He congratulated Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius and the United Republic of Tanzania for meeting the June 17 deadline and successfully switching off from analogue and migrating to DTT.
Digital TV broadcasting offers many advantages over analogue systems for end-users, operators and regulators. Apart from increasing the number of programmes, digital systems can provide new innovative services, such as interactive TV, electronic programme guides and mobile TV as well as transmit image and sound in high-definition (HDTV) and ultra-high definition (UHDTV).
Digital TV requires less energy to ensure the same coverage as for analogue while decreasing overall cost of transmission. The more efficient use of radio spectrum brought on by digital TV also allows for the so-called digital dividend resulting from the freeing up of much-needed spectrum for use by other services, such as mobile broadband.
Tweya encouraged other SADC states and those responsible for implementation to follow suit and successfully complete the migration process.
“We have spoken enough and it is time that we take action. Many have said that they tried and it did not work. However, you are all our technocrats and when you fail us you are not worth being in that team. We don’t hate you but we will bring people that can do the work. We are not interested in talk shows but in actions, as we also want to leave our own legacies,” he elaborated. Tweya also referred to the meeting as very historic in terms of the ICT sector in SADC.
Sharing his sentiments, was the SADC Director of Infrastructure Services, Remigious Makumbe who said digital TV is a defining moment for SADC.
He said, “Thanks to member states that have provided rebroadcasting rights for this pilot to take place. I am confident that the pilot study will accord us an opportunity to finalise all the modalities required for implementation of the SADC TV Bouquet.”
In 2009, Namibia hosted the first the SADC ICT ministers meeting in 2009 where a roadmap was paved to ensure the region adopted a coordinated approach to the digital broadcasting migration.
During the meeting, SADC member states re-engineered their efforts and commitments to implement a SADC roadmap in their respective countries anticipating deadline for the switchover from analogue to DTT, on June 17, 2015.
This will result in the development of ‘all-digital’ terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television for 119 countries belonging to (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia) and the Islamic Republic of Iran.