The transition to digital television in Africa seems expensive and slow yet some countries are not resting on their oars at all. Zambia is making frantic efforts to ensure she is not left out in the transition.
In a bid to justify the most expensive digital migration in Africa – StarTimes has handed over 2 Outside Broadcast Vans to the Zambian Government.
The vans will be used to upgrade the outside live broadcasting capability of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), which will enable the national TV station to obtain, edit and transmit high definition signals in real time at outside events.
The vans are part of the digital migration project which has been criticized as one of the most expensive in Africa.
Four out of the 15 member states that make up the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have fully migrated from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) – Malawi, Mauritius, Tanzania and Namibia.
Zambia’s US$273 million digital migration project will see the 63 digital TV transmitters installed across all the 10 Provinces.
Government is implementing the digital migration project under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting services and the project will also cover construction of ZANIS studios, 6 Provincial Studios, training of staff and construction of national centres in Lusaka and Kitwe.
Government also established TopStar as the public signal distributor under a joint venture between StarTimes of China and ZNBC.
StarTimes is providing USS$44 million towards the project through provision of equipment and technical expertise.
The two OB (Outside Broadcasting) Vans and one DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering) Van were handed over to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in Beijing, China.
Zhao Yueqin, Vice President of StarTimes Group said: “I sincerely hope that the delivery of OB and DSNG vans will help to satisfy Zambian people’s demand of watching more TV programs and to enhance the influence of Zambian TV industry in African continent.”
Ms Zhao says StarTimes will provide support to ZNBC after the delivery of the OB Vans with training to operational staff of both the OB and DSNG vans.
On receiving the van MIBS official Beaton Kaluba said the hand over of the OB vans marks a milestone for Zambia’s digital migration project.
Kaluba who is MIBS director for Planning and Information led a delegation to China to inspect and receive the three vans on behalf of the Zambian government.
Kaluba said that he was deeply impressed by the quality and advanced technology of the whole outside live broadcasting system and expressed his thanks to StarTimes for their contribution to Zambian digital migration.