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Zambia: authorities concede on digital migration policy

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 24 Jun 2015

Zambia: authorities concede on digital migration policy

Following widespread protest over its decision to nominate the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation as a sole national carrier for digital TV, the country's regulator, ZICTA (Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority) has announced it will soon license a private carrier.

The move is intended to stimulate competition within the Southern African country's broadcasting sector.

ZICTA has confirmed it is in the process of issuing a tender inviting a private carrier for digital television signals.

Last week, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia condemned ZICTA and the Zambian government for picking the country's national broadcaster as a sole national carrier for digital television. MISA Zambia has a membership of close 100 radio and television stations.

MISA said the move was contrary to the provision of the national digital migration policy which provides for the setting up of both private and public carriers.

This was after the minister of Information and Broadcasting services Chishimba Kambwili said ZNBC was the only station chosen by Cabinet to be the national carrier and that the station had already paid ZMK 928, 000 license fee to ZICTA.

Kambwili said private stations will be allowed to be on the feed for six months without paying anything while a fee was being considered.

ZICTA Type Approval Engineer Elliot Kabalo has announced that the tender inviting a private carrier for digital television signals will soon be open to everyone that is able to provide the service.

He conceded that the country's digital migration policy allows for the setting up of a private digital carrier in order to promote competition in the provision of content.

"ZICTA as a stakeholder will regulate the performance of the signal provider while the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) will regulate content," Kabalo said.

Zambia managed to migrate to digital broadcasting on June 17 along the line of rail where digital transmitters have been installed under phase one of the digital migration project.

The country is soon expected to award contracts for phase two and three that will include the installation of digital transmitters in all towns and provincial centres.

For now, people in rural areas and provincial centres will only be able to access the digital signal through the pay television channel GO TV.

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