In a latest development towards digitalization, the government of Zimbabwe has started bringing in 400 000 television set-top boxes from China to enable locals to continue watching TV after switching from analogue to digital.
The country is yet to digitalize its local broadcaster under the new regulations by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU. A set-top box enables the receiving and decoding of digital television broadcasts and Zimbabwe is currently in the process of installing digital transmitters as the country battles to complete broadcasting digitalisation before year-end.
According to the Herald, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr George Charamba confirmed that the government has already started importing TV set-top boxes from Huawei in China as the country geared up for digitalisation. The government contracted Huawei Technologies to carry out the process of digitalization; the company is also a renowned telecommunication infrastructure supplier.
“For our people to be able to continue watching TV in their homes after we have completed the digitalisation programme, they need TV set-top boxes and we have already started importing them from China because we want them in the country long before the switch to digital broadcasting,’’he said.
In the report, charamba assured the nation of quality and up to scratchy equipment to avoid technical glitches and regrets for switching over to analogue like what had been experienced in other African countries.
“We are currently testing the TV set-top boxes model that we want to use in this country because we want to set a certain standard. There will be tests and retests because we have had a situation in other countries in Africa that have switched to digitalisation and ended up being a dumping ground of sub-standard set-top boxes,” charamba said.
Mr Charamba also guaranteed the nation affordability of the set-top boxes as the government subsidises the equipment so that they are affordable especially to rural consumers.
“We have been advised by Government that the set-top boxes that we are importing should be subsidised so that they are affordable especially to rural consumers. We are quite aware of the need to make profit, but there is a lot of money that will be made through sale of broadcast airtime once we have digitalised,” he said.
Hope by the end of the year most of the areas across the country would have been digitalized and those areas that were not accessing local broadcasting services such as radio and TV will be fully serviced.