Digital drive to earn firms over 250bn/-

Tanzanians will spend between 97.5bn/- and 250bn/- in purchasing set-top boxes as the country dumps analogue broadcasting and migrate to digital technology.

The amount excludes what television operators have spent/will be spending to equip their stations with up-to-date digital broadcasting equipment.

Tanzania has an estimated six million television sets but Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) officials say some are already in the digital broadcasting era, noting that the country would only need to import 2.5million set-top boxes.

The cheapest decoder - as sold in the local market by three dealers in digital devices of ATN’s Tanzania Integrated Network Grid (Ting), Wananchi Group’s Zuku TV and StarTimes for Star Media (Tanzania) – is 39,000/-, but there are varieties that cost over Sh100,000 apiece.

Tanzania is set to switch to digital broadcasting come December 31, 2012, starting with Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, Tanga, Arusha, Dodoma and Moshi.

Speaking at a recent broadcasters’ meeting in Dar es Salaam, TRCA director general, Prof John Nkoma, said Tanzania wasn’t actually rushing into digital migration because its decision is a result of the good preparations undertaken since 2005 when the authority issued the first document to lay the way forward for the departure from analogue.

“That document was later followed by a number of discussions and consultations in which various issues came up and offered a picture of what should be done to address the challenges for a better digital migration,” said Prof Nkoma.

The preparations were in full throttle in 2006 when the broadcasting regulator issued the Public Consultation Document (PCD) that provided guidelines to multiplex operators – companies licensed to provide infrastructure for airing the content from Content Service Providers (CSP), which are broadcasting stations.

In 2007, the technical committee which was formed in 2006 held a series of digital sensitisation to the government and other stakeholders so that the essence of switching off analogue to digital could be understood.

A year later, 2008 the national steering committee on digital migration was formed, comprising Zanzibar Broadcasting Cooperation, TCRA, Tanzania Revenue Authority, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Youth Culture and Sports.
Source: The Citizen, thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Victor Karega in Dar es Salaam
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