State procures 22,000 decoders


A CONSIGNMENT of 22,000 set-top box decoders out of 1,250,000 procured by government to enable Zambian to access digital television have arrived in the country and will be rolled out in phases.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting director planning and information Beaton Kaluba said that a further 250,000 decoders would be delivered in January 2017 by the Star Software Technology Company.

Mr Kaluba said that the decoders would soon be rolled out by the public digital distributor in rural and urban areas. “So far we have received 22,000 decoders which are already in the warehouse and by the month of January a further consignment of 250,000 will be delivered to us. The decoders will soon be rolled out in rural and urban areas by the public digital distributor and private entities interested can also apply to ZICTA for a license,” he said.

Mr Kaluba said that logistics to identify selling points for the decoders were underway nationwide.

He has since encouraged local investors to take advantage of business opportunities by setting up television stations which would be availed due to the digital migration process, stating that production costs would be minimal.

Mr Kaluba said that the ministry would also compel local television stations to broadcast 35 percent local content in order to encourage the local film and television.

“We would like to encourage local investors to take advantage of business opportunities such as to set up television stations and employment opportunities in the film industry as the cost of production will be reduced because of the digital migration,” he said.

He said government was planning to erect provincial broadcasting stations in Chipata, Mansa, Chinsali, Kasama, Mongu, and Kabwe. He said that two provincial broadcasting stations, in Solwezi and Choma, were already under construction though the pace was not fast enough and must be improved by pressure from the ministry.

The digital migration processes was launched out in June, 2015 and the activity is still ongoing.

A recent statement from the ministry revealed that the 1,250,000 decoders would be sold at not more than US$10 in urban areas and US$5 in rural areas.

The ministry also said that Government had structured the financing of the digital migration project and operation of the public digital broadcasting services in such a way as to not put a strain on the treasury, while at the same time guaranteeing quality television services were offered to all Zambians.

Government will also establish a joint venture to operate the new broadcasting television network and to provide a basic bouquet of twenty-five channels which should not cost more than K30 per month.