Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com
Government has invested $46 million in the ZimDigital project that will see 80 percent of the country receiving radio and television transmission signals upon completion. Transmedia chief executive Mrs Florence Sigudu Matambo told guests attending the inaugural celebrations of International Day for Universal Access to Information in Harare last Friday that Zimbabwe had also complied with the International Telecommunications Union digitisation deadline.
Said Mrs Matambo: « The digitisation process really focuses on television. The ZimDigital project is a national project which is really a mammoth project for us in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services and we have been availed funding to make sure that we run this project.
« So far, about US$46 million has been disbursed by the Ministry of Finance to make sure that the construction (of towers) happens the whole country.
« We are waiting at the moment, for set top boxes so that we can roll out this project. In areas where we have already finished construction, the technical side of this project, our viewers should begin to receive digital signal. This is really a brief on what the ZimDigital is doing to place importance on making sure that information is accessible to all our people in the whole country. »
On the digitisation deadline Mrs Matambo said: « The digitisation programme had a deadline and there was a misconception that the deadline meant that Zimbabwe should have put in digital transmitters and built all the towers.
« The emphasis on the deadline that was talked about related to making sure that countries’ broadcasting signals do not interfere with each other and as a country we complied with that deadline. What remains for us is to make sure that we remove all the analogue equipment, television equipment and replace it with digital equipment.
« That is what is what we mean by digitising Zimbabwe. It will also be an efficient way for us to collect funding in the form of licence fees which will be very minimal.
« The figure is below $5 per household so that we can have some funding, which then we can use to enhance the quality of the programmes that will be available. »
Mrs Matambo said some areas would fail to receive signal due to their topographical locations and would be revisited.
« After doing all this construction, installing the equipment according to plan we know that there will be areas with gaps where some people, depending on the topography of the area, may still not receive signal. We will go back and fill in all those gaps and ensure that we get to near a 100 percent universal access to information to all our people in Zimbabwe, » she said.