Government has made tremendous progress in Zambia's digital migration process, Information and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Mwansa Kapeya has said.
Speaking when he addressed staff at the Zambian High Commission in Gaborone, Botswana yesterday, Mr Kapeya said Government was confident Zambia would successfully migrate as prescribed by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which set June 17, 2015 for countries world-over to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting.
Following a tender issued through the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) in September last year, a preferred bidder has since been arrived at for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of national digital terrestrial broadcasting in Zambia.
Mr Kapeya said tender procedures were being finalised in readiness for the start of the roll-out of the digital migration process. "As Government, we have given ourselves up to December, 2014 for the country to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting ahead of the 2015 ITU deadline.
"During this transition period between now and 2014, we will have what we call simulcast - whereby analogue and digital television broadcasting will run concurrently," he said.
He said the ministry, through the Digital Migration National Taskforce, had made significant headway in the formulation of the Digital Migration Policy which would guide television broadcasting in Zambia under the digital environment.
"Digital migration presents the country with wide and unique opportunities and benefits ranging from creation of surplus frequency spectrum, superior video and audio quality, to job creation arising from high demand for content and low start-up capital for investment in the television broadcasting sector.
"As such, Zambia cannot afford to lag behind when the rest of the world is moving forward in the digital broadcasting technology," Mr Kapeya told the Embassy staff that included High Commissioner Robert Mataka.
He said it was Government's resolve to ensure the country's digital migration was widely consultative and inclusive of all stakeholders and the general public as both drivers and beneficiaries of the process.
He congratulated the Government of Botswana on launching its digital migration broadcasting July 29, at which the minister represented Zambia. Meanwhile, Mr Kapeya has said the Government was on course to transform the country into a prosperous and better place for all. He said this could be seen in massive construction of roads, schools, health and sports infrastructure throughout the country.
He said Government removed subsidies on maize and fuel as they were a bottomless pit which benefited the already well-to-do at the expense of the poor and vulnerable in society.
"The savings being made from the removal of subsidies are now being channelled towards various developmental programmes to improve people's living standards," he said.