Who and what is supposed to be digitalised? This is the most fundamental questions many Zimbabweans would want the government to address as we are nearing the June 17 deadline.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) digital migration deadline is 17 June 2015. It is expected that by then, all countries will have moved from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television (DTT) by June 2015. After the expiry of this deadline, international support for analog broadcasts will no longer be available. Many countries around the world have made the switch from analog to digital but most African countries including Zimbabwe are still lagging behind.
By Tongai Mwenje
Last week, this publication reported that Transmedia, the broadcasting signal carrier, received equipment worth US$3 million dollars from Chinese ICT giant, Huawei, as the country intensifies efforts to beat the June 17 digitalisation deadline ordered by International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Of late the issue of digital migration has caught many in a cloud of confusion, particularly on who and what to be digitalized before the June 17 deadline. Previously, most people thought that the deadline was for everyone to move from analogue to digital signal in line with the International Telecommunications regulations (June 17 2015). Seemingly, it’s not what most of us had in our thoughts or observances.
If you would have asked me about the digital migration then, I would have said of my analogue TV running on digital signal after the 17th of June 2015. But was i wrong? I don’t think so, because that was in everyone’s mind at that time,and i am sure some still have that misperception of an automatic switch over to digital come June 17.
That’s what most of us thought would have been the case after the deadline. But, we are now caught in the midst of confusion, is it that the government is diplomatically telling us that it’s too early for them to comply with such a date? No one really knows the truth except them.Yes they are complying to ‘not interfering with other country’s transmission signals’ but not us digitized.
After receiving $3 million worth of equipment from Huawei Technologies recently, Transmedia chief executive Ms Florence Sigudu Matambo sworn that the nation will definitely meet the deadline sanctioned by the ITU.
“Definitely, the country will meet the deadline,” she said.
The Transmedia boss reiterated the same statement made by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) chief executive officer, Mr Obert Muganyura, in a previous press briefing.
“Considering that a lot of groundwork had already been covered through the MoU and feasibility study conducted by Huawei, there is limited timeframe to the migration deadline but Huawei is in a position to deliver a complete digital solution for Zimbabwe in a manner that enables Zimbabwe to comply with ITU deadline”
, Muganyura said.
This time the announcement had some added manuscript we never had a chance to hear or we never heard from the BAZ authorities.
“Let me reiterate that digitalisation is a process, not an event and what is only going to happen on June 17 is to check whether the country is compliant with the ITU regulations of non-interference with other country’s transmission signals”,
Ms Sigudu Matambo said.
I may have overlooked that literature during the BAZ chief executive’s presentation.
What I only recall from his presentation is that, the migration applies to Television broadcasting only and not radio broadcasting. The ‘ITU regulations of non-interference with other country’s transmission signals’ came as news. Yes I know you may want to blame me for my technical understanding challenges, but, it doesn’t need a rocket scientist to explain that it’s not in the relevant authority’s agenda as of yet to digitalize our own TV sets. They are trying hard not to interfere with other country’s transmission signals come June 17.
The main reason for the world’s migration to digital is to release valuable spectrum which can be used for other services. Spectrum is scarce; therefore more efficient use of the spectrum is necessary if more terrestrial telecommunications and broadcasting services are to be made available.
Currently, analogue broadcasting is protected from interference, but this protection will stop by 2015. It is therefore necessary for all countries to complete the migration from analogue to digital by 2015.
Obviously, most people would want to know the technical implications on their analogue TV sets after the migration to digital broadcasting. Can consumers Still Use their Old Analogue TV Set? How?
Yes. After the switch over is completed, your analogue TV set is not obsolete. However, there are some steps you must take to be able to continue to use it. To ensure continued use of your analogue set, you must do one of the following:
– Use a digital-to-analogue converter box.
– Connect to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV.
In addition, analogue sets should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products that you use now.
Analogue sets equipped with a converter box will display the digital broadcasts, but not in full digital quality. This converter box, much like your cable box, will allow you to receive a picture, but it won’t be able to show high-definition pictures or give you access to other digital services.
I know your comments will add value to this article, lets hear your comments, your previous understanding on digital migration…