Africa back-sliding on DSO

The Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) admits that many of its members will not be making the June 2015 analogue switch-off date. Worryingly, the laggards include South Africa.

The ATU says that “at least” half of its members will miss the deadline for the introduction of all-digital TV.

The ATU said the delays are due to numerous challenges facing the transition such as public resistance, lack of commitment by governments and resistance from private broadcasting firms.

The ATU’s Technical Coordinator Kezias Mwale, speaking in Nairobi at a special forum devoted to the adoption of digital TV, and listed the digital broadcasting milestones made in the region. Some of the countries which have openly declared that they might not shift to the digital network by next year are South Africa and Namibia.

The ATU is commissioning a study that will by next year give a clear indication of where the continent is compared to others on the migration. At the moment, just three countries have succeeded in the switch-over process with a 75 per cent cover, including Mauritius, Mauritania and Tanzania.

According to Joseph Kambanga of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, the country made its target dates because they started early and invested in a heavy campaign focused on showing citizens the benefits of transition. Kambanga added that there was heavy government commitment that saw it lay out the required infrastructure and ensuring that set top boxes were affordable to all people.

Kenya is expected to kick off its first analogue television switch off on December 31st after industry stakeholders agreed on a schedule for the switch over.

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