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TMCNet:  Final Analogue Switch Off in Progress

[February 20, 2014]

Final Analogue Switch Off in Progress

(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is preparing for a second and last phase of the switch off of analogue to digital television broadcasting.

This was said after receiving results of the research done on the first phase by a group of professionals from the University of Dar es Salaam.

"But as it was agreed earlier, the shift will be conducted only when the digital services have reached the particular areas," said Professor Nkoma, the TCRA Director General.

In this phase 12 regions are expected to be involved in switching to digital, whereas TCRA has proposed to start with Singida and Tabora at the end of March this year; although the time table of the switch off will be announced soon by the Minister of communication, said Professor Nkoma.


Other regions in the second phase will include Mara, Kagera, Morogoro, Shinyanga, Iringa, Ruvuma and Lindi; the movement of this phase is expected to be completed by October this year, he said.

TCRA expects the Multiplex operators to increase speed in constructing the digital equipment especially in areas which are still using analogue, continued Professor Nkoma.

He further added that Tanzania is the first nation in Africa to switch off analogue; and the decision to do so has brought respect showing how the government in collaboration with its sectors and stakeholders was able to achieve the intended results since.

"It was not an easy shift in the first phase which started December last year as it affected a lot of sectors including business, politics and the society," said Professor Nkoma.

The first phase of the migration to digital was conducted on seven regions including Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Arusha and Mbeya; this was according to the law in the act known as "Digital Broadcasting and Other Networks", he added.

Moreover, he said that after the first phase a group of specialists from the University of Dar es Salaam was formed and did a research on the progress of the shift; where they discovered that 91 per cent of household users of Digital terrestrial Television (DTT) were using decoders before Analogue Switch Off (ASO), 89 per cent of the phase one ASO where using their televisions after ASO.

Other findings from the research report brought by the specialists showed that the reasons for the other 11 per cent of the households not using their televisions were 5.5 per cent did not buy decoders, 0.1 per cent claimed that decoders were not available, 3.2 per cent claimed decoder prices to be high, 0.2 per cent had decoders out of order, 0.3 per cent experienced poor signal reception, 0.9 per cent their televisions were out of order and 0.7 per cent had no electricity.

The study team has established beyond reasonable doubt that the government can continue with the second phase of ASO, but recommends the government to consider as an incentive for the fast digital take up to remove taxes on decoders.

Otherwise Professor Nkoma has congratulated the study team in their keen research concerning such an important matter and has been able to bring forth a thorough report.

TCRA in cooperation with Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) are in a plan of ensuring that all broadcasting stations are reached with the Optic Fibre Cable; with the aim to see that apart from the main service they will be able to use "interactive service" as well, said Professor Nkoma.

He added that, "TCRA has received all the recommendations done by the study team and will take care of them, with the aim that the move to digital is completed successfully before the deadline of June next year is reached as required by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)." On the other hand, Mr Andrew Kisaka, the Principle Broadcasting Officer of TCRA said that digital broadcasting is very sensitive with directive as any little shift of direction can destroy the image on the screen.

"Any time customers face problems they should report to their service provider and if it persists it should be directed to TCRA," said Mr Kisaka. Professor Nkoma added that he believed in what TCRA is doing for the nation's development as today's world is run by technology hence we should monitor how we utilize it properly.

Copyright Tanzania Daily News. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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