Gambia beats digital migration clock
Gambia has migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting ahead of the extended June 2020 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The West African nation was among several African countries that missed the ITU’s initial June 2015 deadline citing a lack of funds.
The Minister of Information Communication Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah said the switchover will support the National Development Plan (NDP) and specifically the goal to “make The Gambia a digital nation and (create) a modern information society.”
Gambia’s digital migration project is being implemented by Excaf Telecom Company of Senegal in partnership with state broadcaster Gambia Radio & Television Services (GRTS) at an estimated cost of US$24-million.
According to Abdu Touray, director general of GRTS, the partnership between the broadcaster and Excaf Telecom Company is based on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract and will run for eight years “renewable if the company will not be able recoup its investments within the first 8 years of the contract.”
Excaf Telecom Company built the digital migration infrastructure in Gambia using its own money and will recover the investment costs through TV subscriptions and then hand over to GRTS when the contract expires.
Touray said digital terrestrial transmission will make is easier for subscribers to access local and international TV channels on a single platform.
“The digital terrestrial in the country will usher in the possibility to have more channels to accommodate new TV stations and provide better programming with greater picture quality,” he added.