Africa facing barriers to digital TV migration

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 04-12-2011

Financial hurdles and social problems are hampering Africa's migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television, delegates at a regional conference have acknowledged.

The Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy Summit in Nairobi, which ended on 1 December, hosted governmental representatives from across Africa facing the challenges of converting to digital broadcasting by the June 2015 deadline.
"To provide households with the right equipment by means of loans is not easy, as loans are not widespread and hence not easy to access, especially for modest homes," William Fidele Ebondza, director to the cabinet, Republic of Congo (Brazaville), was quoted as saying by the Nairobi Star.
In Nigeria, four out of the country's six commercial cities reportedly now have digital TV transmission, according to Abayomi Olaiya Bolarinwa, Nigeria's director of communications. However, he said acquiring set top boxes to convert analogue signals to digital ones remains difficult.
"We are not looking forward to any subsidy. What we are doing is public and private sector cooperation to drive this migration," explained Bolarinwa.
Kenya reported good progress on its digital migration plan, which aims to switch off analogue signals in 2012. Digital transmission will be launched in the East African country in January 2012, according to Samuel Poghisio, Kenya's information and communications minister.
South Sudan, in contrast, is taking its very first steps towards digital TV, and is seeking help from the African Telecommuniations Union and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to establish a regulatory framework and communications infrastructure.