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Fibre constraints stifle Zim's digital progress

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 21 Aug 2015

Fibre constraints stifle Zim's digital progress

Fibre connectivity constraints to link up transmitter sites in Zimbabwe are hampering the country's efforts to speedily migrate its broadcasting platforms to digital platforms.

This has forced the southern African country to hoist a satellite uplink terminal at its public broadcasting center in Harare to facilitate digital transmission of programming.

Zimbabwe apparently has to lay fibre internet links to its 48 transmitter sites. But, to date, only eight have been linked up with fibre internet.

The country is making efforts to meet the revised June 2016 deadline for the digital migration of broadcasting platforms.

"As part of the implementation of this project, we have just witnessed the hoisting of the satellite up-link dish for the satellite up-link terminal which will be used for the distribution of radio and television programmes from the studios, through the national head-end to the radio and digital television transmission network and on to our receiver sets," said Prisca Mupfumira, acting information, media and broadcasting services minister, at a function on Thursday.

The satellite uplink terminal is not permanent as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) would have to switch to the 48 transmitter sites once they are fully linked up with fibre internet.

The transmission sites would then transmit programming signals to receivers.

"The digitalisation process has been affected by limited investment in linking up the transmitter sites. The process requires high speed fibre internet and uptime that is reliable," said an official at the country's broadcasting corporation, who declined to be named.

The ZBC is already upgrading its studios in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru in preparation for full migration to digital platforms.

Digitalisation will ensure universal access to broadcasting services for the country's populace while it will also improve quality of broadcasting, Mupfumira added.

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