Zambia launches Digital Migration Policy

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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The Government of Zambia has launched the Digital Migration Policy that seeks to develop and provide guidelines for the establishment and operation of signal distributors and develop digital broadcasting market structures and licensing framework ahead of the country’s 2015 switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The Digital Migration Policy also provides a time frame and schedule of digital transition in order to undertake orderly switch over and switch off and defines national technical standards to ensure interoperability, economies of scale and safeguarding universal services.

Information and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Poniso Njeulu officially launched the Policy on behalf of his Minister Joseph Katema.

Dr. Katema made an assurance to the public that the analogue TV sets will still be usable if connected to a set-of-box which will be made available after the switch over.

This contrary to speculations that digital migration will render all analogue TV sets useless.

Dr. Katema appealed to members of the public not to panic as to what will happen to their television sets when the digital migration process gets underway because all that is needed is to connect the television sets to a set-of-box which will convert signals from digital to analogue.

Dr. Katema explained that digital migration will present a positive impact on the environment due to reduced construction of broadcasting transmission infrastructure and further avail the country with a unique opportunity to efficiently use the frequency spectrum.

The Minster has since directed the Zambia Information Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) and Information Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to put in place standards and regulations within the shortest possible time.

This he said was in order to facilitate for the smooth transition from analogue to digital and how best the media and production houses can work together.

And in his welcoming remarks Information Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala called on the National Task force on Digital Migration to scale up stakeholders and public sensitization, consultation to ensure a people driven digital migration agenda.

Mr. Mushala stated that government is committed to ensuring that the digital migration process is inclusive of all stakeholders as both drivers and beneficiaries of the digital age.

Meanwhile, Information Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Director General Josephine Mapoma congratulated government for fulfilling its promise of coming up with a policy on digital migration to guide the nation ahead of the switch over from analogue to digital.

Speaking at the same launch Ms. Mapoma was optimistic that the Zambia will successfully migrate from analogue to digital before the 2015 world wide deadline.

Ms. Mapoma stated that the launch of the policy should mark the commencement of a vigorous public sensitization campaigns as most people including members of the media do not understand digital migration.

She stated that IBA stand ready to create public awareness on digital migration and provide a platform for debate on the topic.

She however observed that the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting will positively impact on country’s broadcasting industry.

The launch was attended by various stakeholders mainly representatives of broadcasting houses and production houses across the country.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at its meeting in Geneva in 2006 set June 17, 2015 as the deadline for countries across the world to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.